CDC Warns Nationwide Measles Elimination Status at Risk

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases Director Dr. Nancy Messonnier this week indicated there is a “reasonable chance” the United States will lose its measles elimination status in October 2019, largely caused by ongoing measles outbreaks in New York. Recall, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared in 2000 that the U.S. had eliminated measles, representing one of the most significant public health achievements in the country’s history.

According to the WHO, for a country to have its elimination status rescinded, measles must have been spreading continuously for one year. Two outbreaks began in New York City and Rockland County, New York, in September 2018, with more than 900 combined cases reported in those locations. The two outbreaks have largely occurred among children in ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities in which parents have refused to vaccinate their children.

Additional information and a detailed statement on the country’s elimination status are expected from the CDC in the coming days.