Measles vaccination is a public health ‘best buy’, with the highest cost of illness averted of any vaccine-preventable disease (Ozawa et al., Bull. WHO 2017;95:629). In recent decades, substantial reductions have been made in the number of measles cases, with an estimated 20 million deaths averted from 2000 to 2017 (Dabbagh et al., MMWR 2018;67:1323). Yet, an important feature of epidemic dynamics is that large outbreaks can occur following years of apparently successful control (Mclean et al., Epidemiol. Infect. 1988;100:419–442). Such ‘post-honeymoon period’ outbreaks are a result of the nonlinear dynamics of epidemics (Mclean et al., Epidemiol. Infect. 1988;100:419–442). Anticipating post-honeymoon outbreaks could lead to substantial gains in public health, helping to guide the timing, age-range, and location of catch-up vaccination campaigns (Grais et al., J. Roy. Soc. Interface 2008003B6:67–74). Theoretical conditions for such outbreaks are well understood for measles, yet the information required to make these calculations policy-relevant is largely lacking. We propose that a major extension of serological studies to directly characterize measles susceptibility is a high priority.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Microbiology (medical)
- Infectious Diseases