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Measles: Regaining Control

Roger M. Barkin, MD, MPH
JAMA. 1975;231(7):737-738. doi:10.1001/jama.1975.03240190041016.
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Seven years after forecasts that measles would be eradicated, and nearly 12 years after the licensure of an effective live-virus measles vaccine, the United States continues to be plagued by the threat of epidemic measles.1 In spite of early progress following the licensure of measles vaccine in 1963, a resurgence of measles began in 1969. In 1971, more than 75,000 cases were reported, after a 1968 total of 22,231 cases. The sharp upward trend in 1969 followed the redirection of federal funds into an intensive rubella immunization program and the 1971 reversal came when federal funds were reinstated (Figure). By the end of 1974, we will finally have regained the level of control first achieved in 1968.

Epidemiologically, the emphasis on vaccine control programs for preschool and elementary school children has been reflected by the fact that these age groups have the largest decreases in attack rates. Although age-specific


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