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Despite recommendations from WHO to conduct measles outbreak response vaccination campaigns based on the age distribution of cases at the beginning of an outbreak, few data exist to specifically examine whether the age distribution of cases remains constant over time in a measles outbreak. This analysis explores this question with use of measles outbreak surveillance data from Bangladesh from the period 2004-2006. Pearson χ(2) tests were conducted of age distributions over 2 periods during 41 large laboratory-confirmed measles outbreaks. Statistically significant changes in age distribution over time were observed in 24% of the outbreaks. No single pattern was detected in the shifts in age distribution; however, an increase in the proportion of cases occurring among infants <9 months of age was evident in 6 outbreaks. These findings suggest a need to consider the possibility of a shift in the age distribution over time when planning an outbreak response vaccination campaign. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Infectious Diseases Society of America 2011.


Eric Wiesen, Kathleen Wannemuehler, James L Goodson, Abhijeet Anand, Ondrej Mach, Arun Thapa, Patrick O'Connor, Jayantha Linayage, Serguei Diorditsa, A S M Mainul Hasan, Sharif Uzzaman, M D Abdul Jalil Mondal. Stability of the age distribution of measles cases over time during outbreaks in Bangladesh, 2004-2006. The Journal of infectious diseases. 2011 Jul;204 Suppl 1:S414-20

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PMID: 21666193

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