The Checkup: Measles Hits 15-Year High in 2011

The magic number for measles last year? 222.

• Guess how many cases of measles there were in the U.S. last year? 222—more than three times as many cases as we see in a typical year. The CDC, which released new data last week, said 2011 marks a 15-year high for measles in the U.S. The good (?) news is most of the cases were traced to tourists from Europe and other places, where vaccination rates have waned and measles outbreaks have boomed in recent years. But I think the fact that so many Americans contracted the virus in the first place shows just how lax we’ve become in vaccinations here: The CDC says two-thirds of the Americans who got the measles last year weren’t vaccinated, including 50 kids. So far this year there have been 27 reported measles cases in the U.S.; experts say it’s too soon to tell yet whether we’ll surpass the 2011 figures. (In case you’re wondering, the measles vaccine isn’t just for kids. A local doctor told us last month that it’s just as important—and effective—for adults, too.)

• Meet Meow, a two-year-old tabby cat in New Mexico who tips the scale at nearly 40 pounds. Don’t worry—he’s going on a diet.

• Oh, by the way, that Kobe beef you’re eating? It’s not actually Kobe beef.