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Current Trends Measles -- United States, First 39 Weeks, 1982

During the first 39 weeks of 1982, 1,284 measles cases were reported in the United States, a record low for the first 9 months of any year and a 51.5% decrease from the 2,646 cases reported during the same period last year. Fewer than 100 cases were reported in each week for the first 39 weeks of 1982, and record low numbers of cases in any 1 week were reported for 34 of those weeks. Fewer than 100 cases of measles per week have now been reported for 68 consecutive weeks.

A provisional total of 96 cases of imported measles was reported to CDC during the first 39 weeks of 1982, an average of 2.5 importations per week. Sixteen of these 96 imported cases led to 278 additional cases within the United States. Measles importations and importation-related cases accounted for 29.1% of the total cases reported. Of the 96 measles importations, 60 (62.5%) occurred among U.S. citizens.

Provisional information indicates that, as of week 43, there are only two reported active chains of transmission in the United States. Reported by the Div of Immunization, Center for Prevention Svcs, CDC

Editorial Note

Editorial Note: The measles elimination campaign has made great progress since its inception in 1978. However, the ultimate benefit of the current low incidence in the United States will only be determined by success in maintaining these low incidence levels. To assist in making measles elimination permanent, the Department of Health and Human Services has initiated a national education and promotion campaign on the theme, "Keep Measles A Memory." This phase of the measles elimination program began October 1, with the enlistment and aid of major national medical, educational, and voluntary organizations. These organizations and their local and state chapters and affiliates have worked as a coalition with numerous government agencies to achieve childhood immunization goals, particularly during and since the National Immunization Initiative in 1977-1979. Elimination of vaccine preventable childhood diseases has documented economic benefit whether measured in short- or long-term financial advantages to individuals or to society (1).


  1. Koplan JP, Axnick NW. The benefits, risks and costs of viral vaccines. In: Melnick JL, ed. Progress in medical virology. Basel, Switzerland: S Karger, 1982:180-91.

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