The number of measles cases across the United States rose for the third week in a row, bringing the total to 555 - the highest number in the past five years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday.
Some 112,163 cases of measles globally were reported between January and March this year compared to just 28,124 during the same period last year.
USA federal health officials said on Monday the number of confirmed cases of measles in the United States this year jumped by almost 20 percent in the week ended April 11 - the country's second-worst outbreak in almost two decades.
"While this data is provisional and not yet complete, it indicates a clear trend", it said.
The agency noted that only about one in 10 actual measles cases were reported, meaning the early trends for 2019 were likely to underestimate the severity of the outbreaks. "Many countries are in the midst of sizeable measles outbreaks, with all regions of the world experiencing sustained rises in cases", the WHO added.
If the outbreaks - which prompted the Big Apple to order mandatory vaccinations last week - aren't brought under control, health experts fear the number of cases in 2019 could set a 20-year record since measles were supposedly eliminated from the US.
Over the previous year, the largest numbers have been in Ukraine, Madagascar and India, with each reporting more than 60,000 cases. Most of the NY cases have been unvaccinated people in Orthodox Jewish communities.
World Health Organization said that the most dramatic rise in cases - a 700-percent increase compared to a year ago - has been reported in Africa, which has weaker vaccination coverage than other regions.