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Volume 17, Number 8–August 2011
Imported Measles and Implications for Its Elimination in Taiwan
Author affiliation: Centers for Disease Control, Taipei, Taiwan
Suggested citation for this article
During November 2008–May 2009, an outbreak of 53 measles cases occurred in Taiwan. Of these, 3 cases were sporadic, and the other 50 cases could be grouped into 8 clusters by genetic analysis. We determined 7 H1 genotypes linked to importation and 1 G3 genotype linked to an untraceable source.
The availability of a measles vaccine in the 1960s led to substantial reductions in the incidence of measles globally. Along with improvements in living conditions, nutrition, and the availability of antimicrobial drugs for secondary bacterial infections, the mortality rate was greatly reduced (1). A live-attenuated measles vaccine was introduced to Taiwan in 1968, and a routine vaccination policy was established in 1978 to provide measles vaccine to infants at 9 and 15 months of age. During 1992–1994 and 2001–2004, two catch-up campaigns were implemented, targeting birth cohorts September 1976 to September 1990 and September 1990 to September 1994, respectively. Starting in 2006, the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine targeted infants 12–15 months old and 6-year-old children. The coverage rates for the first dose of measles vaccine and the second dose of MMR were 91% and 95%, respectively, since 1996. In recent decades in Taiwan, 4 major measles outbreaks have occurred, with 2,219 (in 1985), 1,386 (1988), 1,060 (1989), and 303 (1992) reported cases. Beginning in 1993, the annual number of reported measles cases was <100; by the end of 2007, the annual number of confirmed measles cases was <10 (2). The ability to actively control measles has increased in Taiwan since 1991 because of a combined plan to eliminate polio, measles, congenital rubella syndrome and neonatal tetanus.
The key to controlling measles is achieving and sustaining high levels of vaccination coverage. Finding a way to prevent the transmission of measles is an important topic for any country in the elimination phase. Here, we report several measles outbreaks that occurred in Taiwan during 2008 and 2009.
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Suggested Citation for this Article
Cheng W-Y, Yang C-F, Hou Y-T, Wang S-C, Chang H-L, Chiu H-Y, et al. Imported measles and implications for its elimination in Taiwan. Emerg Infect Dis [serial on the Internet]. 2011 Aug [date cited]. http://www.cdc.gov/EID/content/17/8/100800.htm
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Wen-Yueh Cheng, Centers for Disease Control, 161 Kun-Yang St, Nan-Kang District, Taipei, Taiwan 11561; email: email@example.com
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