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More Than 150 Measles Cases in U.S. Through August 2013

82 percent of cases among unvaccinated; 9 percent in those with unknown vaccination status

MONDAY, Sept. 16 (HealthDay News) -- From Jan. 1 to Aug. 24, 2013, there were 159 cases of measles in 16 states in the United States, mainly resulting from eight outbreaks, according to a report published in the Sept. 13 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Noting that, although measles elimination was declared in the United States in 2000, cases continue to occur, Gregory Wallace, M.D., from the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues evaluated measles cases reported by 16 states from Jan. 1 to Aug. 24, 2013, to update measles data.

The researchers found that in the study period 159 cases of measles were reported. Eighty-two percent of these were among unvaccinated individuals and 9 percent had unknown vaccination status. Of the cases, 42 were importations, including 21 from the World Health Organization European Region. Eight outbreaks were reported in 2013, which accounted for 77 percent of cases, including 58 cases in the largest outbreak reported in the United States since 1996.

"Increases in the proportion of persons declining vaccination for themselves or their children might lead to large-scale and sustained outbreaks, threatening the elimination of measles in the United States," write the authors of an accompanying editorial note. "Maintenance of high, two-dose measles, mumps, rubella vaccine coverage, early detection of cases, and rapid public health response to a case are the key factors that will lead to sustained elimination, despite the continued importation of cases into the United States."

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