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J Infect Dis. 2011 Jul;204 Suppl 1:S158-63. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jir124.

International measles incidence and immunization coverage.

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Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, The Alfred Centre, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.


Measles is exquisitely sensitive to immunization programs. We investigated the decline in measles incidence after immunization with 1 or 2 doses of measles-containing vaccine (MCV), with or without supplementary immunization activities (SIAs). Using data from the World Health Organization, we modeled the impact of measles immunization using a negative binomial regression model. All countries offer measles immunization, and 192 of 193 countries offer a second dose of MCV (MCV2), using either a routine second dose, SIAs, or both. The incidence of measles fell from a median of 70.9 cases/100,000/year when coverage with a first dose of MCV (MCV1) was in the range of 0%-39% to a median of .9 cases/100,000/year when MCV1 coverage was 90%-100%, in both cases with no MCV2. Further reductions followed the introduction of MCV2 and SIAs. Modeling showed that each 1% increase in MCV1 coverage was followed by a 2.0% decrease in incidence in the same and following years (95% confidence interval [CI], 2.0%-1.9%, and 2.1%-1.9%, respectively). For a second dose, a rise of 1% in MCV2 coverage was followed by a decrease in measles incidence by .4% (95% CI, .3%-.5%) in the same year and .3% (95% CI, .2%-.5%) in the following year. SIAs were followed by decreases of measles incidence by 40.3% (95% CI, 46.3%-33.8%) in the same year and 45.2% (95% CI, 51.1%-48.7%) in the following year. A herd immunity effect was demonstrated with MCV1 coverage of >80%, and SIAs are an extraordinarily effective strategy for measles control.

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