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.
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.
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.
The DRC and the WHO have launched a new ring vaccination campaign to combat the new Ebola outbreak in North Kivu. The first recipients of the vaccine are healthcare workers, whose health and safety are paramount in the fight to contain the disease.
While the incidence of isolated cases and limited outbreaks of drug-resistant infections have risen in recent years, sustained transmission of these infections are more rare. An ongoing outbreak of extensively drug-resistant (XDR) typhoid fever in Pakistan illustrates the growing threat posed by drug-resistant pathogens.