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New analysis predicts top 25 U.S. counties at risk for measles outbreaks

May 10, 2019

Measles map

A team of researchers has identified 25 U.S. counties that are most likely to experience measles outbreaks in 2019. Their analysis is based on international air travel volume, non-medical exemptions from childhood vaccinations, population data, and reported measles outbreak information.

The predictions were published today in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

“There has been a resurgence of measles cases, among other vaccine preventable diseases, in the U.S. and other countries in recent years. Measles, in particular, poses a serious public health threat due to the highly contagious nature of the disease. It is therefore critical that we proactively identify areas most likely to experience outbreaks to strategically target for surveillance and control,” says Lauren Gardner, an associate professor in the Johns Hopkins Department of Civil Engineering and one of the study’s corresponding authors.

Cook County, Illinois, tops the list, followed by Los Angeles County; Miami-Dade County; Queens, New York; and King County, Washington. The researchers have made available an interactive web tool that maps counties and codes them by risk.

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