It seemed like only a matter of time, and now it's confirmed: New Mexico has the measles.
The state Department of Health announced at 5 pm tonight that a 1-year-old in Sierra County has the disease. It's the first case in the state since 2014, and the newest report of what has now mounted to nearly half the states in the nation to confirm the disease that was declared eliminated in 2000.
The most recent information published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates 839 cases of measles confirmed from Jan. 1 to May 10, 2019 in 23 states.
Sierra County's biggest city is Truth or Consequences, but state officials aren't saying whether the infected child lives there or in a rural area.
The report had been under investigation for over a week and the CDC recently completed additional lab testing on the case, the department said in its statement.
"We have worked with the clinic that treated the child and the patient's family to identify people who may have been exposed so we can prevent more cases of the disease," said Health Secretary Kathyleen Kunkel. "We encourage everyone to check whether you and your family have been vaccinated to protect against measles. Immunization is the best tool we have to protect people from measles."
Early symptoms of the highly contagious disease include fever, red eyes, runny nose and cough, which is followed by a rash on the face and body. It's "easily transmitted person-to-person via droplets or through the air," the department warns.
Adults needing measles vaccine can contact their medical provider or local pharmacy. Children who have no insurance coverage can get the vaccine from their health care provider or at their local public health office.
Other states with reported cases are Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Tennessee and Washington.
Health officials in US and abroad say the "anti-vaxx" movement is at least partly to blame in the resurgence. A recent study by the United Nations' children's agency found that measles deaths were up globally by 22% in 2017, and complacency and fear of vaccines were among the factors leading to less vaccinations.