May 13 (UPI) -- Seventy-five new measles cases have turned up in the United States, federal health officials said Monday -- piling onto a record number for the year, which still has seven months left.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday there are now 839 measles cases nationwide -- more than twice the number reported last year (372), and nearly 10 times the total in 2016 (86).
The CDC said new cases have been confirmed in nearly half of all states -- Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Tennessee, and Washington.
"Three outbreaks in New York state, New York City and New Jersey, respectively, contributed to most of the cases," the CDC said in an update Monday. " Cases in those states occurred primarily among unvaccinated people in Orthodox Jewish communities.
"These outbreaks were associated with travelers who brought measles back from Israel, where a large outbreak is occurring. Eighty-two people brought measles to the U.S. from other countries in 2018. This is the greatest number of imported cases since measles was eliminated from the U.S. in 2000."
Some states have tried to curb measles vaccine exceptions in light of the recent outbreak. Lawmakers in Connecticut are trying to remove the religious exemption from vaccines.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a 2020 presidential candidate, signed a law that will no longer allow parents of school-age children to claim personal or philosophical objections to the required vaccines.
The World Health Organization said last week more than 34,000 cases in Europe were reported in the first two months of 2019.