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How common is measles in the United States?

Before the US measles vaccination program started in 1963, about 3 to 4 million people in the US got measles each year; 400 to 500 of them died; 48,000 were hospitalized and 4,000 developed encephalitis because of measles. Since 2000, when measles was declared eliminated from the US, the annual number of cases has ranged from a low of 37 in 2004 to a high of 644 in 2014.

The majority of cases has been among people who are not vaccinated against measles. Measles cases in the United States occur as a result of importations by people who were infected while in other countries and from transmission that may occur from those importations. Measles is more likely to spread and cause outbreaks in US communities where groups of people are unvaccinated.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.