CDC: Measles Vaccination is Still Lacking

December 3, 2018

Despite progress, the measles elimination milestones set by the World Health Assembly in 2010 to be achieved by 2015 have not been met, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In fact, 3 regions are currently experiencing a large measles resurgence.

This failure to meet the milestones, as well as the recent spikes in measles cases and incidence, can be largely attributed to the gaps in vaccine coverage that still exist.

However, the researchers also noted that the number of measles cases and incidence was higher in 2017 compared with 2016 in part because 8 additional countries reported case data in 2017 than 2016.

To evaluate whether the milestones had been met, researchers from the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund analyzed data from administrative records and vaccination coverage surveys completed by 194 countries annually.

During the 2000 to 2017 timespan the report covered, the researchers estimated that MCV1 coverage increased globally from 72% to 85%; that annual reported measles incidence decreased 83%, from 145 to 25 cases per million population; and that the annual estimated measles deaths decreased 80%, from 545,174 to 109,638.

While MCV1 coverage is believed to have increased globally to 85%, coverage has remained stagnant since 2010, and there is still considerable variation in regional coverage.

During the report’s period, measles vaccination prevented an estimated 21.1 million deaths, but the report authors say more progress is needed.

“Case-based surveillance needs to be strengthened, and coverage with MCV1 and the second dose of measles-containing vaccine needs to increase,” the researchers wrote. “In addition, it will be important to maintain political commitment and ensure substantial, sustained investments to achieve global and regional measles elimination goals.”

 —Colleen Murphy


Dabbagh A, Laws RL, Steulet C, et al. Progress toward regional measles elimination — worldwide, 2000–2017. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2018;67(47):1323-1329.

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