Timeline of measles
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This is a timeline of measles, describing major events, such as vaccine releases, historic epidemics, and major organizations.
|<1963 (Pre-vaccine Era)||Seven to eight million children are thought to have died from measles each year before the vaccine was introduced. Before the vaccine, epidemic cycles occur every 2 to 3 years, and virtually everyone experienced measles illness during childhood. Lifelong immunity is provided by natural infection.|
|1963 onward||The 1960s mark a change in the history of measles, with the invention and release of the first vaccine in the United States. Major measles control programs start to be conducted in a number of countries from both the developed and developing world, which result in a dramatic decline in incidence of the disease.|
|2000–2015||In this last period, measles vaccination has prevented an estimated 20.3 million deaths. In 2015, about 85% of the world's children received one dose of measles vaccine by their first birthday through routine health services, up from 73% in 2000. However, measles remains one of the leading causes of death among young children, even though a safe and cost-effective vaccine is available.|
|Year/period||Type of event||Event||Location|
|854 CE – 925 CE||Scientific development||Persian polymath Muhammad ibn Zakariya al-Razi provides the first scientific description of measles-like syndrome.||Iran|
|1492||Epidemic||Europeans first arrive to Americas and introduce diphtheria, influenza, measles, mumps, scarlet fever, smallpox, tertian malaria, typhoid, typhus, and yellow fever. From then on, it is estimated that the size of the indigenous population was reduced between 50 and 90%.||Americas|
|1529||Epidemic||The Spanish introduce measles to Cuba, killing two out of three natives.||Cuba|
|1533||Epidemic||Measles epidemic breaks out in Nicaragua soon after Francisco Pizarro’s third expedition to Peru.||Nicaragua|
|1657||Epidemic||The earliest recorded measles epidemic breaks out in Colonial America.||United States|
|1676||Scientific development||English physician Thomas Sydenham documents measles infection during an epidemic in London. Sydenham successfully distinguishes smallpox and scarlet fever from measles.||United Kingdom|
|1693||English colonial administrator in Virginia, Edmund Andros issues a proclamation for a "day of humiliation and prayer" in the hope of halting measles epidemic.||United States|
|1757||Scientific development||Scottish physician Francis Home demonstrates that measles is caused by an infectious agent in the blood of patients.||United Kingdom|
|1846||Scientific development||Danish physiologist Peter Ludvig Panum, during an epidemic, describes the incubation period of measles and lifelong immunity after recovery from the disease.||Denmark (Faroe Islands)|
|1850–1859||Epidemic||Measles kills one fifth of Hawaii's population within a decade.||United States (Hawaii)|
|1870–1879||Epidemic||Measles kills about one fifth of Fiji's indigenous population within a decade.||Fiji|
|1911||Epidemic||First Introduction of measles virus to the Polynesian island of Rotuma. Most residents of apopulation of approximately 2,600 are exposed to the virus for the first time. The official mortality register documents 491 deaths for 1911, an extremely high figure for the total population. This extreme mortality due to measles is found to be typical of isolated populations after first encounters with measles.||Polynesia (Rotuma)|
|1916||Scientific development||French researchers Charles Nicolle and Ernest Conseil perform the first successful immunization against measles by means of convalescent serum. Nicolle and Conseil show that measles patients have specific protective antibodies in their blood, then demonstrate that serum from measles patients could be used to protect against the disease.||France|
|1951||Epidemic||A traveler from Denmark first introduces measles virus into the Inuit population of southern Greenland. Only five out of 4,262 people escape the disease, with a final attack rate of 99.9%. Quick efforts made in Denmark to provide gamma globulin (a type of blood protein—in this case, rich in antibodies) help decrease the fatality rate. Overall, 1.8% of the population died during this epidemic.||Greenland|
|1954||Scientific development||American biomedical scientist John Franklin Enders and American physician Thomas C. Peebles succeed in isolating measles virus in 13 year old David Edmonston.||United States (Boston)|
|1963||Scientific development||Nine years after initial isolation in cell culture of the measles virus, American biomedical scientist John Franklin Enders and colleagues transform their (Edmonston-B strain) into a vaccine and license it as the first live attenuated vaccine. Along with improved developments within this decade, the vaccine has an immediate impact in disease incidence and mortality rates upon its implementation.||United States|
|1968||Scientific development||American microbiologist Maurice Hilleman develops a weak measles vaccine. This vaccine is estimated to prevent 1 million deaths worldwide every year.||United States|
|1978–1982||Program launch||The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sets goal to eliminate measles from the United States by 1982. The goal is not met, but widespread use of measles vaccine drastically reduces the disease rate. By 1981, the number of reported measles cases is 80% less compared with the previous year.||United States|
|1996||Program launch||Measles control strategy is implemented by 7 southern African countries. It is adapted from previous strategies that led to measles elimination in the Americas. Nationwide measles vaccination campaigns are conducted. As a result, historic low measles incidence in these countries are achieved, as well as virtual elimination of related deaths. Also, regional accelerated measles control efforts throughout Africa are prompted.||Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zimbabwe|
|1997||Epidemic||Last large measles outbreak occurring in Americas breaks out in Sao Paulo. Over 42,000 cases are recorded. It is caused by an accumulation of susceptible young children.||Brazil|
|1997||Program launch||The Eastern Mediterranean Regional office of World Health Organisation sets goal to eliminate measles by 2010. Though overall measles cases declined, complete elimination has not been achieved.||Middle East, North Africa|
|1998||British team led by Andrew Wakefield publish paper claiming evidence of measles virus in the digestive systems of autistic children. Wakefield suggests a relationship between the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine and autism, recommending that the combination MMR vaccine be suspended in favor of single-disease vaccinations given separately over time. Due to public concern, vaccination rates in England drop well below the level required for herd immunity to measles. As a result, measles cases begin to rise. While 56 cases are confirmed in Wales and England in 1998, 1,348 will be confirmed by 2008.||United Kingdom|
|2000||Achievement||Following a highly effective vaccination program and better measles control in the Americas region, measles is declared eliminated (absence of continuous disease transmission for greater than 12 months) from the United States.||United States|
|2001||Organization||The Measles & Rubella Initiative (M&R Initiative) is launched as a global partnership. Led by the American Red Cross, the United Nations Foundation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), UNICEF and WHO, the purpose of M&R is to achieve measles and rubella elimination in at least 5 WHO regions by 2020.|
|2007||Epidemic||Measles epidemic breaks out in Japan. In order to contain the disease, a number of universities and schools close, sending more than 160,000 students home.||Japan|
|2008||Epidemic||134 cases of measles are reported in the United States, the most cases in a year since 1996. Among the infected, more than 90% have not been vaccinated or have an unknown vaccination status.||United States|
|2010||Program launch||The World Health Assembly establishes 3 milestones towards the future eradication of measles to be achieved by 2015:
|2012||Program launch||The Measles & Rubella Initiative launches the Global Measles and Rubella Strategic Plan 2012-2020, with the following goals to achieve in 2015 and 2020:
2015 goals (not achieved):
|2012||Publication||Australian author and anti-vaccine activist Stephanie Messenger publishes Melanie's Marvelous Measles, a book which argues that contracting measles is beneficial to health, and that vaccines are ineffective. In 2015 the book came to attention after the Disneyland measles outbreak begins during December 2014, and provoked criticism because measles is responsible for thousands of deaths every year.||Australia|
|2013||Report||The World Health Organization estimates 145,700 deaths globally from measles in 2013.|
|2016||Achievement||The Americas region is declared free of endemic measles by the Pan American Health Organization. It is the first of the six WHO regions to eliminate transmission of measles.||Americas|
|2019||Epidemic||2019 Pacific Northwest measles outbreak is the largest outbreak of the disease in the previous two decades.||United States|
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