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J Infect Dis. 2004 May 1;189 Suppl 1:S17-22.

Evolution of measles elimination strategies in the United States.

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  • 1Task Force for Child Survival and Development, Decatur, Georgia 30030, USA.


There have been 3 efforts to eliminate measles from the United States since the introduction of measles vaccine in 1963. To date, 10 major lessons have been learned from elimination efforts. First, elimination requires very high vaccination-coverage levels by age 2 years. Second, school immunization requirements ensure high coverage rates among schoolchildren. Third, a second dose of measles vaccine is needed to achieve satisfactory levels of immunity. Fourth, school immunization requirements can also ensure delivery of a second dose. Fifth, coverage assessment is crucial. Sixth, measles surveillance is critical for developing, evaluating, and refining elimination strategies. Seventh, surveillance requires laboratory backup to confirm a diagnosis. Eighth, tracking measles virus genotypes is critical to determining if an endemic strain is circulating. Ninth, once endemic transmission has been interrupted, internationally imported measles cases will continue and will cause small outbreaks. Tenth, collaborative efforts with other countries are essential to reduce imported measles cases.

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