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HISTORIC EVENT IN MEASLES PREVENTIONANNOUNCED BY CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION

 WASHINGTON, Oct. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today announced that the first six months of 1993 saw fewer reported cases of measles than in the first six months of any year in the history of measles surveillance in the U.S.
 The 1993 measles surveillance data, to be published in the Oct. 29 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), were previewed at a press conference conducted by the National Foundation for Infection Diseases (NFID).
 "Through June of this year, there were only 175 cases of measles reported in the U.S.," stated William L. Atkinson, M.D., medical epidemiologist in the National Immunization Program of the CDC. "This represents a 99 percent decrease from the nearly 14,000 cases reported during the first half of 1990, the peak of the recent measles resurgence."
 Infectious disease experts stressed, however, that this notable achievement must not give rise to complacency about measles vaccination. "In 1983, there were only about 1,500 reported cases of measles in the U.S., which was at that time the lowest figure since the vaccine was introduced in 1963," stated Donald M. Poretz, M.D., a director of the NFID. "Because of this, some health authorities felt confident that we were close to eliminating this dreaded childhood disease from the United States.
 "That hope was shattered, though, in 1989, which saw the resurgence of a new measles epidemic," continued Dr. Poretz. "In large part, the recent increase in the number of measles cases was due to the failure to vaccinate large segments of young children. This country cannot permit repeat of epidemics that can be so easily prevented."
 During the 1989-91 measles epidemic, the largest percentage of cases were seen in preschool children who had never been vaccinated. By contrast, the greatest proportion of 1993 measles cases were among children aged 5 to 19.
 "The fact that it's older children who are getting measles points to the importance of every child receiving two doses of the vaccine," stated Caroline Breese Hall, M.D., chairman of the Committee on Infectious Diseases of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). "The AAP recommends that children receive this second dose at entry into middle or junior high school, or alternatively, the second dose may be given at the beginning of kindergarten or first grade, as recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).
 "Whichever schedule is chosen, the important point is that each child be immunized fully against measles by the time of entry into junior high," concluded Dr. hall.
 According to the CDC, of this year's measles cases, 42 percent were either directly acquired outside the U.S. or transmitted by another person who acquired measles from a foreign source. "The incidence of measles is rising in other parts of the world, especially Eastern Europe and Russia, so as a nation, we must protect our children from the ever present threat of this disease," stated Dr. Poretz. "Continued vigilance to make certain all children are protected will remain a necessity for the foreseeable future."
 Measles, the most contagious of all vaccine-preventable diseases, is a very serious illness that can cause a rash, fever of up to 105 degrees and complications, including pneumonia, middle ear infections and brain inflammation. Prior to the development of the measles vaccine in the U.S., there were an estimated 3 to 4 million cases each year and 500 deaths annually from the disease.
 The attached chart, based on a table in the October 29 issue of MMWR, shows the age and vaccination status of the reported 1993 measles cases.
 AGE AND VACCINATION STATUS OF REPORTED MEASLES CASES
 (First 26 Weeks of 1993)(A)
 Age Group Vaccinated Unvaccinated Total
 (1 dose)
 Under 12 months -- 17 17
 1-4 years 5 32 37
 5-19 years 28 49 77
 Over 20 years 6 38 44
 Totals 39 136 175
 (A) -- From MMWR, Oct. 29, 1993
 -0- 10/28/93
 /CONTACT: Cherry Dumaual or Diana Dalsass for the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, 212-371-2200/


CO: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; National
 Foundation for Infectious Diseases ST: District of Columbia IN: HEA SU:


TS-TA -- NY003 -- 7852 10/28/93 11:30 EDT
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Date:Oct 28, 1993
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