HOUSTON — The history of measles dates all the way back to the 9th century when a Persian doctor published the first written account of the disease, according to the CDC.

Measles didn’t get much attention in the United States until a widespread outbreak in 1912. That’s the year U.S. healthcare providers and laboratories began reporting all diagnosed cases.

In the first decade of reporting in the U.S., there were an average of 6,000 measles-related deaths each year.

Before the measles vaccine became available in 1963, nearly all children got measles by age 15. An estimated 3 to 4 million people in the U.S. were infected each year.

In 1978, CDC set a goal to eliminate measles from the United States by 1982. Although this goal was not met, widespread use of measles vaccine drastically reduced the disease rates. By 1981, the number of reported measles cases was 80% less compared with the previous year.

Check out this measles timeline from 1657-2018.

Measles is caused by a virus, morbillivirus, that's spread primarily via coughing and sneezing, and is recognizable by its well-known rash, which spreads to cover most of the body. The virus is extremely contagious: on average, 90% of...

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