Measles in Mexico, 1941-2001: interruption of endemic transmission and lessons learned

Jose Ignacio Santos, Miguel Angel Nakamura, Miriam Veras Godoy, Pablo Kuri, Carlos Alvarez Lucas, Roberto Tapia Conyer
Journal of Infectious Diseases 2004 May 1, 189: S243-50
In Mexico, measles occurred in a cyclical endemic-epidemic pattern until the early 1970s. Beginning in 1973, routine vaccination augmented by mass vaccination campaigns led to a decrease in the incidence of measles until the 1989-1990 regional pandemic, when the measles attack rate rose to 80 cases per 100000, resulting in 5899 deaths. Since the pandemic, measles elimination efforts in Mexico have resulted in increasing coverage to >95% among children aged 1-6 years with 2 doses of either measles or measles-mumps-rubella vaccine since 1996 and in coverage of 97.6% among children aged 6-10 since 1999. Surveillance data suggest that the transmission of indigenous measles virus was interrupted in 1997. After almost 4 years without measles cases, in April 2000, measles virus was reintroduced into Mexico and 30 laboratory-confirmed cases were reported. Detection of relatively few cases in nonprogrammatic age groups affirms the high immunization coverage and the sensitivity of measles surveillance in Mexico. We conclude that the specific strategies adopted for measles elimination have enabled Mexico to eliminate the endemic transmission of measles.


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