news·2 min read

Here's How the Latest Measles Outbreak Started

Kid with measles
Apr 15, 2019

The Story



is making a comeback.

Wait, measles?

Yes. So far this year, more than 670 people in 22 states have gotten measles.

Pause. What exactly is measles?

An extremely contagious virus with potentially serious consequences. Someone with the virus can spread it just by sneezing or coughing. At first it feels like getting a cold – think: cough, sore throat, runny nose, fever. But can also lead to a rash. It can be especially dangerous for kids and lead to things like deafness, brain damage, pneumonia, and death. Doctors say the primary way to prevent the virus is to get the vaccine.

Wow. How did this outbreak start?

This latest outbreak started last year and is concentrated in a few states – New York, New Jersey, Washington, and California. It spread primarily from people who brought the virus back from other countries like Israel, Ukraine, and the Philippines that are experiencing large outbreaks. Most people who get measles aren’t vaccinated. And there are concerns that lower vaccination rates in the US, as well as misinformation about vaccines are helping the virus spread.

Lower vaccination rates...why's that?

In recent years, more parents in the US

have been saying ‘no thanks’ to vaccinating their kids. Experts say there may be a few reasons for this. One, lack of insurance or access to health care. Two, a growing number of parents claiming


. Even though every state requires kids to be vaccinated to go to public school, some states let parents opt out for pretty much any reason. And this leads to communities with lower vaccination rates and a higher risk of infection.

I know this is controversial. Give me the opinions.

Loading Spinner

PS: Want to know more about the vaccine debate and what’s being done to prevent another measles outbreak? We Skimm’d all that in theSkimm app. If you download the app now, you can text us your questions each week on a different news topic and get an exclusive Skimm FAQ. Psst: the first week is free.

live smarter.

Sign up for the Daily Skimm email newsletter.

Delivered to your inbox every morning and prepares you for your day in minutes.