Current vaccine approach not enough to eradicate measles: New study models the feasibility of eliminating measles and rubella

Current vaccination strategies are unlikely to eliminate measles, according to a new study led by faculty at the University of Georgia. 

The paper, which published today in The Lancet Global Health, explores the feasibility of eliminating measles and rubella using predominant vaccination strategies in 93 countries with the highest disease burden.

Despite marked reductions in the number of new measles and rubella cases worldwide, gaps remain between current levels of transmission and disease elimination. 

“Measles is one of the most contagious respiratory infections out there, and it moves quickly, so it’s hard to control,” said lead author Amy Winter, an assistant professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at UGA’s College of Public Health. 

The basic reproduction number (R0) for measles, which represents the number of people that one infected person is likely to transmit that disease to in a fully susceptible population, is roughly 18. By comparison the R0 for the original SARS-CoV-2 virus is estimated to be around three.

In 2017, the World Health Organization director general requested a report on the feasibility of measles and rubella eradication. One component of this report was to use transmission models to evaluate the theoretical feasibility of eradication of the two viruses given different vaccination strategies.

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