Vaccine coverage good, but measles far from gone

September 17, 2013

The good news is that in 2012, vaccination coverage of children aged 19 to 35 months remained near or above Healthy People 2020 target levels, according to the US National Immunization Survey, 2008-2012.

 

The good news is that in 2012, vaccination coverage of children aged 19 to 35 months remained near or above Healthy People 2020 target levels, according to the US National Immunization Survey, 2008-2012.

That means that 90.8% of children received 1 or more doses of measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine; 89.7% received 3 or more doses of hepatitis B vaccine; 92.8% received 3 or more doses of poliovirus vaccine, and 90.2% received 1 or more doses of varicella vaccine.

Only 0.8% of children received no vaccinations at all, but coverage still varies by state and tends to be lower among lower socioeconomic populations.

The bad news is that measles is fighting hard to make a comeback. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) received reports of 159 cases of measles from 16 states between January 1 and August 24 of this year. If the trend continues, 2013 could surpass 2011’s 222 cases and end up being the worst year for measles since 1996 when about 500 cases were reported.

Almost all of this year’s cases involved people who were either unvaccinated (82%) or had unknown immunization status (9%). Three outbreaks were responsible for the majority of the cases, with 58 from New York City, 23 from North Carolina, and 20 from Texas.

More than one-third (37%) of the cases occurred in children aged younger than 5 years. About 1 in 10 (11%) resulted in hospitalization, and 4% developed pneumonia. Almost all the cases were imported, with about half being linked to travel in Europe.

The CDC estimates that 20 million cases of measles still occur each year worldwide.


 

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