Using Serology to Anticipate Measles Post-honeymoon Period Outbreaks

C. J.E. Metcalf, A. Wesolowski, A. K. Winter, J. Lessler, S. Cauchemez, W. J. Moss, A. R. McLean, B. T. Grenfell

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review

5 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)597-600
Number of pages4
JournalTrends in Microbiology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology
  • Microbiology


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