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Epidemiology and Health Statistics of Measles

Epidemiology and Health Statistics of Measles

Measles is a viral infection caused by the rubeola virus. The disease spreads from one person to another at high rates, making it an endemic disease. Measles is highly infectious and contagious, hence a disease of concern. Measles mostly affects the respiratory system and is spread when a person comes in contact with droplets of the virus through coughing or sneezing (Trentini et al., 2017). Measles can remain in the air for a maximum of two hours, and therefore, breathing the contaminated air leads to the spread of the infection. The virus also remains on the surfaces and leads to infection when a person touches the mouth and the nose with contaminated hands. Though highly contagious, measles can be prevented through vaccination.

Measles’ signs and symptoms include fever, running nose, coughing, watery eyes, and inflammation of the conjunctiva. The incubation period of the infection is short, ranging from 9 to 11 days. Since the eyes are affected, a person with Measles may have poor eyesight. The other symptoms of measles include the appearance of brown or reddish rashes on the body and general body weakness (Trentini et al., 2017). The rashes are inflammation of the skin, which vary based on the severity of inflammation. Dry cough, sneezing, and the appearance of white spots known as Koplik’s spots in the mouth and the throat occur in people with measles.

Based on incidence, Measles occurs worldwide, making it a leading cause of death among children less than five years old. Before the measles vaccine was introduced, more than 2 million people died from measles. There are high rates of measles infection in areas where vaccination is low. Children below the age of five years are at the greatest risk of getting the infection. People who have not been vaccinated are also at the highest risk of contracting the infection (Trentini et al., 2017). Having a low immunity, such as in immunocompromised people, also increases the risk of contracting the infection. Traveling to Measles endemic areas or coming in contact with infected people who have traveled from endemic areas increases the risk of contracting measles.

Factors that have contributed to the global resurgence of measles

One of the major factors that have contributed to the resurgence of measles globally is traveling to and from nations where there is an outbreak of measles. Major international airports are entry points for the disease, especially when immigrants from endemic areas travel into the country (Sarkar et al., 2019). The other factor that has increased the rate of spread of measles is low vaccination (Trentini et al., 2017). Measles can be prevented through vaccination, but a low vaccination rate makes the disease spread at a faster rate. The other factor is that most of the anti-vaccine movements are directed by nonmedical experts who fail to identify the factors that lead to the spread of the infection. These factors lead to the resurgence of infection in the country, and therefore, there is a need to predict and identify regions at high risk of outbreaks (Sarkar et al., 2019). Failure to screen patients for measles at the airports also contributes to resurgence, especially for patients from endemic areas.

Statistics regarding Measles

In 2019, the USA recorded the highest number of measles cases despite the disease being declared eliminated in 2000 (Patel et al., 2020). Cook County and Los Angeles County were at the greatest risk for a measles outbreak. In 2019, 1249 incidents of measles and 22 epidemics were reported. The number was high compared to other previous years. In the same year, 93% of the incidents (1163) of measles reported were linked to 22 incidents (Patel et al., 2020). 83% of the incidents were identified as people who had not received the measles vaccine. 119 patients in the US were admitted in 2019 due to measles infection. Eight hundred thirty-two cases of measles were reported in the US as of May 2019, and Chicago was one of the areas with the measles case. In 2019, Chicago reported its first case over the past 25 years (Patel et al., 2020). The cases reported in Chicago were brought by travelers at the airport from states and countries with the outbreaks. Thorough vaccination programs have helped prevent the transmission and spread of Measles in Chicago.

Challenges to measles control in the United States

One of the greatest challenges in the control of Measles in the US is the resistance of the virus to vaccines. Measles vaccination has been effective in controlling and preventing measles, but resistance is increasing (Conis, 2019). High rates of resistance increase the spread of the infection and make it hard to control the infection. The other challenge is cultural beliefs related to vaccination, where some people refuse to get the vaccine due to their cultural and religious beliefs (McKay et al., 2020). The rate of measles vaccination has been increased in schools, but some parents refuse their children to be vaccinated due to their beliefs. Refusing to allow children to be vaccinated puts the children at high risk of contracting the disease in case of an outbreak. It also exposes other children to measles, which is highly infectious (Conis, 2019). Vaccine refusal increases the number of unvaccinated people, which increases the risk of getting measles. The other challenge is the implementation of the measures to prevent the spread of measles, especially at entry points such as airports. There should be screening of travelers coming from endemic areas, which is hard and expensive.


Conis, E. (2019). Measles and the modern history of vaccination. Public Health Reports134(2), 118-125.

McKay, S. L., Leung, J., Gastañaduy, P. A., Routh, J. A., & Harpaz, R. (2020). How adequate is measles surveillance in the United States? Investigations of measles-like illness, 2010–2017. Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics, 1-7.

Patel, M. K., Antoni, S., Nedelec, Y., Sodha, S., Menning, L., Ogbuanu, I. U., & Gacic Dobo, M. (2020). The changing global epidemiology of measles, 2013–2018. The Journal of infectious diseases222(7), 1117-1128.

Sarkar, S., Zlojutro, A., Khan, K., & Gardner, L. (2019). Measles resurgence in the USA: how international travel compounds vaccine resistance. The Lancet Infectious Diseases19(7), 684-686. DOI:

Trentini, F., Poletti, P., Merler, S., & Melegaro, A. (2017). Measles immunity gaps and the progress towards elimination: a multi-country modelling analysis. The Lancet Infectious Diseases17(10), 1089-1097.


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Epidemiology and Health Statistics of Measles

Assignment Overview
The 10 Essential Public Health Services describe the public health activities that all communities should undertake. Throughout the course, you will consider all of those services. You will begin working on the report by applying what you have learned about Public Health, Epidemiology, and Health Statistics.

Case Assignment

  • Describe the epidemiology of measles.

    Epidemiology and Health Statistics of Measles

    Epidemiology and Health Statistics of Measles

  • Identify three factors that have contributed to the global resurgence of measles.
  • Compare and contrast statistics regarding measles globally, in the United States, and in your state (identify the state about which you are writing). ( Chicago IL)
  • Summarize continuing challenges to measles control in the United States.

Assignment Expectations

  • Length: 3 pages, excluding title page and references.
  • Assessment and Grading: Your paper will be assessed based on the performance assessment rubric. You can view it under Assessments at the top of the page. Review it before you begin working on the assignment. Your work should also follow these Assignment Expectations.

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