More U.S. measles cases so far this year than in all of 2018

Click to play video: 'Rockland County officials urge U.S. government: ‘make vaccinations mandatory’'
Rockland County officials urge U.S. government: ‘make vaccinations mandatory’
Officials in Rockland County on Friday urged the U.S. government to make it mandatory for people entering the country to be vaccinated against diseases like measles – Mar 29, 2019

The number of U.S. measles cases through the first three months of this year have surpassed the count for all of 2018, health officials say.

There have been 387 cases through March, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Monday. There were 372 last year.

The numbers are preliminary, and may change. But the 2019 tally is already the most since 2014, when 667 were reported.

There have been 27 reported cases of measles in Canada so far in 2019, up to Mar. 16, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.

This year’s numbers have been driven by outbreaks in several states, including New York, California, Illinois, Texas, and Washington.

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Most people who get measles have not been vaccinated. In the U.S., most outbreaks are sparked by travelers who picked up the virus in countries where measles is more common.

Nearly 83,000 people contracted measles in Europe in 2018, the highest number in a decade, according to the World Health Organization.

WATCH: B.C. government to offer measles vaccines at schools

Click to play video: 'B.C. government to offer measles’ vaccines at schools'
B.C. government to offer measles’ vaccines at schools

The measles vaccine is 97% effective, according to the CDC.

Measles is spread through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes, and it is extremely contagious.

For most people, measles is miserable but not life-threatening. The most common symptoms include fever, runny nose, cough, and a rash all over the body. However, a very small fraction of people get much sicker, and can suffer complications like pneumonia and swelling of the brain. Also, measles can cause pregnant women to deliver prematurely.

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There have been three measles-related deaths reported in the U.S. since 2000, including two in 2003 and one in 2015.

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