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News From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
March 21, 2012

Progress in Global Measles Control, 2000-2010

JAMA. 2012;307(11):1133-1136. doi:

MMWR. 2012;61:73-78

2 tables omitted

In 1980, before widespread global use of measles vaccine, an estimated 2.6 million measles deaths occurred worldwide.1 In 2001, to accelerate the reduction in measles cases achieved by vaccination, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) developed a strategy to deliver 2 doses of measles-containing vaccine (MCV) to all children through routine services and supplementary immunization activities (SIAs) and improved disease surveillance.2 After implementation of this strategy, the estimated number of annual measles deaths worldwide decreased from 733,000 in 2000 to 164,000 in 2008.3 In 2010, the World Health Assembly endorsed the following measles objectives for 2015: (1) raise routine coverage with the first dose of MCV (MCV1) for children aged 1 year to ≥90% nationally and ≥80% in every district or equivalent administrative unit, (2) reduce and maintain annual measles incidence at <5 cases per million, and (3) reduce measles mortality by ≥95% from the 2000 estimate.4 During 2000-2010, global MCV1 coverage increased from 72% to 85% with approximately 1 billion children vaccinated during measles SIAs. Reported measles cases decreased from 2000 to 2008, remained stable in 2009, and increased in 2010. By the end of 2010, 40% of countries still had not met the incidence target of <5 cases per million. Key challenges must be overcome to meet the 2015 objectives, including (1) declining political and financial commitments to measles control, (2) failure to reach uniform high coverage with 2 doses of MCV through routine services or SIAs, and (3) inadequate monitoring subnationally of coverage with the first and second dose of MCV to guide interventions to increase coverage.