That number is just 42 below the 2014 record of 667 cases, the highest number since measles was declared eliminated in the United States in 2000. The cases included a mass 383-case outbreak largely in Ohio's Amish country.
Pushing the line that no one is too young or too old to be vaccinated, the Ministry is now devising programmes that it hopes will reach the entire population during vaccination week, which started on the 20 of this month and ends on the 27.
Health officials in the United States confirmed 71 new measles cases a week ago. This is a time when the Ministry steps up its vaccination programme to reduce and prevent diseases among children and adults. Although only 5 states are now experiencing outbreaks, 22 states have reported confirmed cases of measles in 2019.
Measles, which is highly contagious, can be entirely prevented through a two-dose vaccine; however, the World Health Organization (WHO) has in recent months sounded the alarm over slipping global vaccination rates.
"It's actually very unfortunate that we have these epidemics; these are preventable diseases", said Dr. Lim.
Officials say the MMR vaccine is "the best protection against measles".
"CDC considers people who received two doses of measles vaccine as children according to the USA vaccination schedule protected for life, and they do not ever need a booster dose", according to the CDC.
"If for any reason you have never had a dose of MMR vaccine now is the time to get one", says Dr Shoemack.
Those who are unable to locate written verification of 2 doses of measles immunization should receive 1 dose right away and a second dose in 4 weeks. The agency encouraged Americans to get vaccinated, noting two doses of the MMR vaccine are 97 percent effective against measles.
That means checking vaccination records for the pair of shots that cover mumps, rubella and measles and getting a measles booster shot, if needed, to ward off the virus.
Even doctors aren't particularly familiar with the symptoms because the infection has not been widespread for many years. Peter Marks of the FDA says all the evidence points to the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine. A blood test may be done to check for immunity and possible removal of the order for quarantine.
Common symptoms of measles include fever, cough, runny nose, conjunctivitis (red eyes) and a rash which usually appears 10 to 21 days after the exposure. It also prevents complications caused by these diseases.
"Non-immune adults, or those without documentation of vaccination as children, who are going to be in a setting that poses a high risk for measles transmission, such as students at post-high school education institutions, healthcare personnel and worldwide travelers, will need two doses of MMR vaccine separated by at least 28 days", Dr. Stockwell said.