The United States could soon lose its status as a nation that has eliminated the measles, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned on Wednesday.
Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said there is a "reasonable chance" this could happen in October. The World Health Organization removes the designation after measles has spread continuously for one year; on Sept. 30, 2018, a measles outbreak began in New York City, and since then, hundreds of new cases have appeared in a total of 30 states. This is "incredibly frustrating and upsetting to the public health community that we may lose measles elimination status, because we do have a safe and effective vaccine," Messonnier said.
The U.S. received its measles elimination status in 2000, and the idea that this could be lost due to widespread anti-vaccine sentiment is leaving public health officials "embarrassed," Dr. William Schaffner, an adviser to the CDC on vaccines, told CNN. "We're chagrined."