Last year, there were 372 cases of measles reported in the US, the second-highest number in more than 20 years—which is why this year's numbers just through the first three months have health officials concerned. The CDC notes that between Jan. 1 and March 21, 314 measles cases in 15 states have been documented, with outbreaks (defined as three or more cases) reported in Texas, California, Illinois, Washington, New York City, and Rockland County in New York. The outbreaks have been tied to people who traveled to Ukraine and Israel, where measles is running rampant. CNN notes an uptick is happening in certain areas where schools allow for more vaccination waivers, with health officials pointing to the proliferation of anti-vaccination talk as a factor in the jumping number of measles cases.
Still, a CDC spokesman says it's not definite that 2019 will speed by 2018 in the numbers by year's end, noting the agency doesn't attempt to "predict how many cases we will have in any particular year or when we might surpass the number of cases that occurred in a previous year." Meanwhile, one country is now considering making vaccinations mandatory: Deutsche Welle reports Germany, which has seen its own spike in measles cases, is considering it, though some officials think such a compulsory move would be "counterproductive" and that parents should simply be educated better about the benefits of vaccination. (A family visiting Costa Rica brought measles back there.)