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The Measles Virus Laboratory at CDC

The Measles Virus Laboratory was formed in June 1989 in response to a resurgence of measles in the United States. The information from the characterization of viruses analyzed during the 1989-1991 resurgence of measles and the ongoing viral surveillance throughout the 1990s was important data that helped to document the elimination of endemic transmission of measles in the United States.

Responsibility for rubella and mumps viruses was transferred to the Measles Virus Section in 1997-1998. After a major reorganization was officially approved in March 2007, the Measles team currently operates within the Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) and Herpesviruses Laboratory Branch (MMRHLB), Division of Viral Diseases, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

National Reference Laboratory

The Measles Laboratory provides serologic testing for measles as a national reference laboratory and provides technical assistance to state public health laboratories for the collection and shipment of clinical samples for measles RT-PCR and sequencing. The Measles Laboratory team works closely with the Epidemiology Branch to coordinate laboratory support for local and state public health laboratories during outbreaks and investigations of suspected spread cases following an importation of measles.

See contact information for any questions related to specimens for virus isolation or RT-PCR, serology testing, or technical questions related to lab testing in general.

Role as a World Health Organization Regional and Global Network Laboratory

The Measles Laboratory acts both as a Regional Reference Laboratory within the laboratory network in the Region of the Americas (Pan American Health Organization) and as a Global Specialized Laboratory in the Global Measles and Rubella Laboratory Network of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Methods and protocols for measles and rubella diagnosis and viral surveillance have been developed for the Laboratories in the WHO Global Laboratory Network. Consult the 2007 measles lab manual of the World Health Organization.

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