When the World Health Organization declared in 2000 that the United States had eliminated measles, it was hailed as one of the biggest public health achievements in the nation’s history.Now there’s a “reasonable chance” the US will lose that measles elimination status in October because of ongoing measles outbreaks in New York, according to Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.
“It certainly is incredibly frustrating and upsetting to the public health community that we may lose measles elimination status, because we do have a safe and effective vaccine,” Messonnier said.Losing measles elimination status would be a black eye to the United States, public health experts said.”We’re embarrassed. We’re chagrined,” said Dr. William Schaffner, a longtime adviser to the CDC on vaccine issues.WHO removes a county’s elimination status when measles has been spreading continuously for one year. A measles outbreak in New York City started on September 30, 2018, and has caused more than 600 confirmed cases of measles. An outbreak in nearby Rockland County, New York, started the next day and has caused more than 300 cases.
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