Worldwide Measles Outbreaks 2019

In response to the surge of measles outbreaks in the U.S. this year, Lauren Gardner, who is in the process of moving to Johns Hopkins from the University of New South Wales, and I are doing a risk analysis that combines the geography of hotspots of vaccine avoidance (from Olive et al. 2018) with international travel data. The analysis is based on our assumption, shared by the CDC, that measles outbreaks in the U.S. are initiated through the transport of the virus by infected individuals traveling from countries in which the disease is present. Outbreaks occur when these individuals arrive in areas in the U.S. in pockets of vaccination resistance (such as Austin, Texas).

We have been looking for updated data on global measles outbreaks, preferably at a weekly resolution, with no success. So, I have begun to compile these data myself. What I have so far is the following. I will update this information periodically. The number of countries, number of outbreaks and the number of cases are all astounding given that safe and effective vaccines for measles have been available for more than half a century. (Any help inn correcting or updating these figures will be duly appreciated and acknowledged in future versions of this post.

Country Data

(Cases and deaths in 2019, unless otherwise stated.)

Australia: 11 cases in January in New South Wales according to a government report; 1 in Perth according to Perth News.

Brazil: Between December 2018 and January 2019 there have been 10213 cases (Amazonas: 9778 cases (6 deaths); Bahia 2; Federal District 1; Pará 61 (2), Pernambuco 4; Rio Grande do Sul 45; Rio de Janeiro 19; Rondônia 2; Roraima 355 (4); São Paolo 3; Sergipe 4) (PAHO/WH 2019).

Burma: 248, according to Outbreak News Today.

Canada: 9  cases in British Columbia during the first two weeks of February, according to Vancouver Coastal Health.

Chile: 1 (PAHO/WH 2019).

Colombia: 1 (PAHO/WH 2019).

France: 5, according to Outbreak News Today.

Georgia: 312 cases according to Georgia Today.

Ireland: 2, according to Outbreak News Today.

Kazakhstan: Ongoing outbreak but no quantitative data seem available.

Madagascar: 66,00 (900 dead) since October according to WHO.

Philippines: 8443, according to Outbreak News Today.

South Korea: 30 cases in January, according to KCDC.

Thailand: 613 cases (2 deaths) through 2 February, according to Outbreak News Today.

Ukraine: 18 170 (≥ 8 deaths) between 28 December 2018 and 8 February 2019, according to Outbreak Today.

United States: 127 cases in 10 states according to CDC.

Venezuela: No data seem to be available for 2019; Paniz-Mondolfi et al. (2019) report 5525 cases for 2018 and the disease is believed to be in the ascendancy because of the ongoing economic and political chaos.



Olive, J. K., Hotez, P. Jj, Damania, A., & Nolan, M. S. 2018. The state of the antivaccine movement in the United States: A focused examination of nonmedical exemptions in states and counties. PLoS Medicine 15 (6): e1002578.

[PAHO/WHO] Pan American Health Organization / World Health Organization. 2019. Epidemiological Update: Measles. 18 January 2019, Washington, D.C.: PAHO/WHO.

Paniz-Mondolfi, A., Tami, A., Grillet, M. E., Márquez, M., Hernández-Villena, J., Escalona-Rodríguez, Blohm, G. M., Mejías, I., Urbina-Medina, H., Rísquez, A., Castro, J., Carvajal, A., Walter, C., López, M. G., Schwabl, P., Hernández-Castro, L., Miles, M. A., Hotez, P. J., Lednicky, J., Morris, J. G., Crainey, J., Luz, S., Ramírez, J. D., Sordillo, E., Llewellyn, M., Canache, M. Araque, M., & Oletta, J. 2019. Resurgence of vaccine-preventable diseases in Venezuela as a regional public health threat in the Americas. Emerging Infectious Diseases Apr.

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