Measles cases have now been reported in Florida, Georgia and Tennessee and according to health officials the disease is likely to spread to Alabama.
The Centers for Disease Control said that in total 626 cases of measles have been reported in 22 states, with concentrated outbreaks among unvaccinated populations in New York City; Rockland County, New York; Michigan; Washington state; New Jersey; and Butte County, California.
Officials said that no cases have been reported in Alabama but it is unlikely that the state will escape the disease.
William Curry, M.D., Senior VP for Population Health, UAB, said on Monday that they are likely to get one or more cases here in Alabama as it is a very infectious and effective virus.
He added that once it gets started in a vulnerable population it will spread quickly and if there are neighborhoods of people who are not immunized there would likely be more than one case.
Officials have been urging people to receive vaccinations against measles and, if there are concerns of their vaccine no longer being effective, have a blood test performed by their doctor. The vaccine is 97 % effective against the disease.
Almost 40 years after the first live measles vaccine was licensed, measles was declared eliminated from the U.S. in 2000. An average of 549,000 measles cases and 495 measles deaths were reported annually in U.S in the decade before the vaccinations.
The annual number of cases has ranged from a low of 37 in 2004 to a high of 667 in 2014 since 2000 with 2019 on pace to top that number.