US retains measles-elimination status despite worst outbreak in quarter-century

Henrietta Strickland
October 7, 2019

"However, continued vigilance is important to ensure that elimination is sustained".

Fully 93% of measles cases were associated with an outbreak-defined as three or more related cases.

NY health officials Thursday declared the end of the state's almost year-long epidemic, which accounted for 75 percent of cases nationwide, and occurred mostly among unvaccinated children in Orthodox Jewish communities.

"Eight outbreaks that occurred in underimmunized, close-knit communities accounted for 85% of all cases", the CDC said.

Thirty-one states have documented cases of the measles this year.

Under-vaccinated and unvaccinated people were the most likely to contract the virus; 89% of patients were not vaccinated with measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine, and 11% received only one dose of the two-dose regimen. From January 1 - July 31, 2019, 182 countries reported 364,808 cases of measles. Of the 81 global cases, 52 were in USA residents who contracted the virus during their time overseas.

"The end of the NY state measles outbreak is a credit to the great work by local and state health departments, community and religious leaders, and other partners", the CDC's Thursday statement said.

It took a full-court press, but NY got it done.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control said that 75% of cases of the highly contagious and sometimes deadly disease this year were associated with outbreaks in New York City and New York State, and blamed the spread on parents who had opted not to vaccinate their children.

"Both jurisdictions have since passed two incubation periods for measles with no additional reported cases associated with these outbreaks as of October 1, 2019; however, continued vigilance is important to ensure that elimination is sustained", the report said.

Yesterday New York State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker, MD, JD, announced that 42 days-two measles incubation periods-had passed in Sullivan and Orange counties without any new cases of measles. "The threat, however, for vaccine-preventable diseases remains, and the Department is not letting down its guard".

Despite the rise of measles in recent years, the CDC still considers measles eliminated in the U.S. The CDC says that measles elimination means the absence of continuous disease transmission for 12 months or more in a specific geographic area.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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