Jabbering about jabsBMJ 2008; 337 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.a1517 (Published 03 September 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a1517
- Douglas Kamerow, chief scientist, RTI International, and associate editor, BMJ
As an American, one of the (few) things about the US healthcare “system” that I have always taken pride in is our ability to fully vaccinate virtually all of our children by the time they start school. When I was growing up, before measles vaccine, thousands of cases of measles encephalitis and hundreds of measles related deaths occurred every year in the United States. By the turn of the current century, though, vaccination programmes had eliminated endemic measles, and the few remaining cases reported in the US were related to travel and immigration.
Not so in Europe. Vaccination coverage is low in several European countries, leading to ongoing outbreaks. And in the United Kingdom in June the Health Protection Agency announced that, because of declining vaccination coverage, measles had again become endemic in England and Wales (BMJ 2008;337:a1254, doi:10.1136/bmj.a1254).
Because it is so contagious, measles is a great harbinger of vaccine coverage. As long as there is measles somewhere in the world, it will be exported by travel …