Classification of Measles Cases From 2014 to 2018: Implications for Progress Towards Measles Elimination in China

Vaccine. 2020 May 8;38(22):3832-3838. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2020.03.049. Epub 2020 Apr 10.


Measles incidence has decreased dramatically in China due to the implement of measles-containing vaccine (MCV). However, a measles epidemic caused resurgence recently, even among vaccinated individuals. To evaluate the effectiveness of current immunization programs and discuss initiatives for the next step in measles elimination in mainland China, the characteristics of 121,969 laboratory-confirmed measles cases reported in the measles surveillance system (MSS) during 2014-2018 were analyzed according to the vaccination status of the cases in this study. Children under 2 years of age without MCV vaccination (44,424, 36.42% of all cases) and adults over 20 years of age with an unknown vaccination history (37,564, 30.80% of all cases) accounted for the majority of measles cases from 2014 to 2018. 42,425 (34.78%) of the 77,384 cases with available vaccination information were categorized as programmatically preventable. 38,840 (91.55%) of the 42,425 cases were aged ≥8 months without the MCV vaccination history. 34,959 (28.66%) cases were categorized as programmatically non-preventable, of whom 22,611 (64.68%) were too young to receive their first MCV dose, 6857 (19.61%) received their first dose and were too young to receive their second dose, 5491 (15.71%) received at least two doses of MCV. 15,933 (13.06%) of the 121,969 cases had a history of MCV vaccination. Measles virus infection in cases with an MCV vaccination history mainly occurred within the first month after MCV vaccination, especially in those who received a one-dose measles vaccination. MCV vaccination could reduce the frequencies of clinical symptoms and complications of measles cases. Our study confirmed that the current measles immunization programs used in mainland China is effective in reducing the measles incidence in China. Unvaccinated infants/children aged 8-23 months and high risk susceptible adults over 20 years of age with unknown vaccination histories should be the focus groups of measles immunization activities in China in the future.

Keywords: Measles; Measles-containing vaccine; Vaccination status.