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JAMA. 1996 Jan 17;275(3):224-9.

Measles elimination in the Americas. Evolving strategies.

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  • 1Special Program for Vaccines and Immunization, Pan American Health Organization, Washington, DC 20037, USA.


The strategy currently used to control measles in most countries has been to immunize each successive birth cohort through the routine health services delivery system. While measles vaccine coverage has increased markedly, significant measles outbreaks have continued to recur. During the past 5 years, experience in the Americas suggests that measles transmission has been interrupted in a number of countries (Cuba, Chile, and countries in the English-speaking Caribbean and successfully controlled in all remaining countries. Since 1991 these countries have implemented one-time "catch-up" vaccination campaigns (conducted during a short period, usually 1 week to 1 month, and targeting all children 9 months through 14 years of age, regardless of previous vaccination status or measles disease history). These campaigns have been followed by improvements in routine vaccination services and in surveillance systems, so that the progress of the measles elimination efforts can be sustained and monitored. Follow-up mass vaccination campaigns for children younger than 5 years are planned to take place every 3 to 5 years.

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