Measles control efforts in urban Africa complicated by high incidence of measles in the first year of life

Am J Epidemiol. 1988 Apr;127(4):788-94. doi: 10.1093/oxfordjournals.aje.a114860.


A measles vaccination coverage of between 50 and 60% has been achieved in Kinshasa, Zaire, from 1980-1985. During that interval, the annual number of measles cases and the incidence rate of measles reported by a surveillance system remained similar, and measles epidemics occurred in alternating years. The estimated number of measles cases in Kinshasa is 87,600 per year. Of reported measles cases, 27% occurred in children under nine months of age, younger than the recommended age at vaccination. Two results expected in a partially vaccinated population, a reduction in measles incidence greater than the level of vaccination coverage and a shift in the age distribution of measles to older children, have not been observed. Measles control in Kinshasa will require a vaccination coverage of higher than 60%. In addition, given the age-specific risk of measles infection here, a measles vaccine that would be effective when given before nine months of age would be an important element in controlling measles transmission. Because the epidemiology of measles in Kinshasa is a likely consequence of its urban environment, such a vaccine would represent a significant advance toward the control of measles in urban Africa.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Child, Preschool
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Measles / epidemiology
  • Measles / prevention & control*
  • Measles / transmission
  • Measles Vaccine / administration & dosage*


  • Measles Vaccine