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Clin Microbiol Rev. 1995 Apr;8(2):260-7.

Measles control in the United States: problems of the past and challenges for the future.

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Ahmanson Department of Pediatrics, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, California 90048, USA.


Elimination of indigenous measles from the United States has been a public priority since 1978. To assess the progress made toward this goal, we review the epidemiology of measles from 1963 to the present. From the 1970s through early into the recent measles epidemic, the majority of measles cases were in highly vaccinated, school-age children. This was due primarily to a 1 to 5% primary measles-mumps-rubella vaccine failure rate and nonrandom mixing patterns among school-age populations. To eliminate susceptible individuals in the school-age populations, a second dose of measles vaccine is now recommended between 5 and 6 years or 11 and 12 years by both the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Later in the epidemic, measles cases surged among unimmunized preschool children, especially among the poor in inner-city areas. Immunization rates have been documented to be low among preschool populations because of missed opportunities to administer vaccines at all health visits and barriers to access to immunizations. To raise immunization rates, the age for the first measles-mumps-rubella immunization was lowered to 12 to 15 months of age, federal immunization funding has increased, and new standards for immunization delivery have been developed and promulgated.

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