New York City has declared an end to the measles outbreak in the Williamsburg neighborhood in Brooklyn. The outbreak ultimately resulted in 654 cases, including 52 hospitalizations and 16 ICU admissions. Most of the cases were in children, and the vast majority were unvaccinated or undervaccinated. Health and elected officials implemented a variety of interventions in an effort to interrupt transmission, including mandatory vaccinations in affected communities and legislation eliminating non-medical exemptions for vaccinations required for school enrollment.
Measles cases worldwide continue to rise, and vaccine hesitancy is to blame. This week’s post is a brief update on the global measles resurgence.
WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus recently surmised that “Even as we focus on ending the [Ebola] outbreak, we must look beyond it. An outbreak of measles in DRC has killed almost 2000 children since January – more than Ebola in less time – and yet it gets little international attention.” In this post, we will be discussing the concurrent outbreaks in DRC beyond Ebola and how they are complicating the country’s response strategies.
Several instances of quarantine populated the news this week. Quarantine is a long-standing staple of public health, but it is often misunderstood and misused. We take a brief look at quarantine in the context of outbreak response and use these recent examples to illustrate some of the situations in which it can be an effective response tool.
As nationwide measles incidence continues its rapid climb toward the highest yearly total since the disease was declared eliminated in 2000, public health officials are struggling to effectively engage with insular communities—in this case, Ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities—where vaccine-preventable diseases like measles can gain a foothold as a result of low vaccination coverage.
Venezuela’s political and economic crisis has fostered conditions favorable to communicable disease outbreaks, including measles, malaria, and HIV. We call attention to the spread of these diseases in Venezuela, and we examine the evidence of regional transmission.
Globally, measles are on the rise. This post outlines two outbreaks from this past year, one in the Ukraine and the other in Madagascar. Both of these outbreaks illustrate how low vaccination coverage can lead to high case numbers.
A measles outbreak centered in Clark County, Oregon has already resulted in cases in two other states, including Hawai’i. This outbreak illustrates the risks posed by pockets of low vaccination coverage and the intense effort required to complete contact tracing for such a highly transmissible infection.
In addition to high-profile measles outbreaks, other vaccine-preventable diseases, including chickenpox, are making a comeback. An ongoing outbreak in North Carolina highlights the risks posed by low vaccination coverage in children.
Europe is reporting a record high number of measles cases for the first six months of 2018. We explore which European nations have been hardest hit, and we examine the potential role of the European political climate in exacerbating the outbreak.