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There are more U.S. measles cases so far this year than in all of 2018

Posted at 5:52 AM, Apr 02, 2019

The number of confirmed measles cases in the U.S. so far this year is officially higher than all of 2018, according to the CDC.

New data from the agency shows there have been 387 measles cases in 15 states through the end of March. Last year, there were 372 total.

CNN notes that the latest figure is also the second-highest in the U.S. since the disease was eliminated in 2000.

The CDC says there are currently six outbreaks happening in four states. That includes New York , where a state of emergency declaration last week over a measles outbreak in Rockland County also banned unvaccinated kids from public places.

The agency attributes recent outbreaks to travelers who've brought the virus into the U.S. from other countries, like Israel and Ukraine.

Measles is a respiratory illness that's highly contagious — and also vaccine-preventable. Health regulators recommend children be fully immunized against 14 preventable diseases by the time they're 6 years old. That includes the measles, mumps and rubella, or MMR vaccine.

In February , outgoing FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told CNN that the federal government might have to step in if states don't enact stricter vaccination rules.

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN .