AS THE MEASLES epidemic appears to ebb, with a 60% drop in reported cases so far this year, the reason why remains elusive.
"It's hard to know, when measles is an epidemic that comes in cycles, what really is going on," says Lauri Markowitz, MD, a medical epidemiologist for the Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, Ga. "It is too early to say the decrease is due to increased vaccination coverage."
While what she terms "tremendous efforts" were made to increase this coverage, Markowitz adds: "I don't think we raised coverage so dramatically in the last year that you can attribute it [the decrease] to the increase in vaccine coverage."
Surge in Past Year
Measles, after years of decline and talk of eventual eradication, has resurged for no clearly apparent reason throughout North and Central America in the past few years (JAMA. 1991;265:2163).The United States' 1990 provisional case total of