Measles: taking steps forward to prevent going backwards

Curr Opin Pediatr. 2020 Jun;32(3):436-445. doi: 10.1097/MOP.0000000000000895.


Purpose of review: The measles vaccine, first introduced in 1963, directly led to a dramatic decrease in the incidence of the disease. Measles transitioned from being a common childhood disease, affecting approximately three to four million children annually, to being eradicated in the United States in 2000. What was once an astounding victory for modern medicine, however, has recently seen a dramatic reversal in fortune, with a resurgence of measles cases in the United States. Hence, it merits careful discussion.

Recent findings: The United States has seen more measles cases in 2019 than in any prior year in the past 30 years. These outbreaks are because of many factors but a significant cause is the increase in vaccine refusal within sub-populations in America. This finding indicates that the current approach that healthcare workers take with families towards MMR vaccination could be more effective.

Summary: This article aims to educate the reader about the measles virus and its clinical presentation, the MMR vaccine and its overwhelming success, and the concerning current national and international trends in measles outbreaks. Importantly, we focus on positions proposed by hesitant vaccinators and determine how medical providers can participate in productive conversation about vaccination to better gain trust and guide improved shared clinical decision-making.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Disease Outbreaks / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Measles / prevention & control*
  • Measles Vaccine / administration & dosage
  • Measles Vaccine / therapeutic use*
  • Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccine / administration & dosage
  • Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccine / therapeutic use*
  • United States
  • Vaccination


  • Measles Vaccine
  • Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccine