Although as recently as 1980 measles was estimated to cause 2.6 million deaths globally, due to highly effective and safe vaccines, measles elimination has been achieved in a number of countries globally as well as in the region of the Americas. Expansion of measles control strategies and activities has resulted in substantial gains in measles vaccine coverage globally with accompanying declines in measles disease burden and mortality. Despite these successes, recent setbacks have occurred due to under-vaccination, including large measles outbreaks in Africa and Europe. This resurgence of measles has resulted in increases in measles virus importations in countries that have achieved measles elimination; 1,380 measles cases were provisionally reported in the Americas during 2011, the highest number of measles cases reported since 2002. Participants discuss what needs to be done to reverse these trends, and achieve milestones set for 2015 toward the goal of measles eradication as well as recent research that suggests children who receive their first measles vaccination at 12 months are more likely to contract the disease as adolescents than those who receive at 15-16 months.
Jane Seward, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, United States
Gaston De Serres, Institute National de Santé Publique du Quebec, Quebec, Canada