Measles: Ready for Eradication?

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In October 1978, Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare Joseph A. Califano announced that the United States would seek “to eliminate indigenous measles from the nation by October 1, 1982” (1), that is, the only bona fide cases would be acquired outside the country, and secondary cases would be rare or nonexistent., Measles is the ideal type of virus for eradication through mass immunization programs: There is only one serotype, which does not vary from year to year; most, if not all, cases are clinically identifiable; there is no animal reservoir; and a safe, effective vaccine is already in hand.

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