Measles in Taiwan, 1990-2008

Shu-Kuan Lai, Hsiao-Ling Chang, Ho-Sheng Wu

2010 Vol.26 NO.1

Correspondence Author: Shu-Kuan Lai



Measles is a sporadic infectious disease in Taiwan. The measles vaccine was introduced to Taiwan in 1968 and universal vaccination to infants 9 months and 15 months old started in 1978. Over 1,000 confirmed cases were reported in both 1988 and 1989 when measles was first classified as a notifiable disease in 1987. In 1991, Taiwan implemented an eradication project for polio, congenital rubella syndrome, measles and neonatal tetanus, and universal vaccination of MMR vaccine in 15-month-old children in 1992. Since then, less than 50 confirmed measles cases were reported annually. Furthermore, less than 10 confirmed cases were reported in recent 10 years, indicating good control of measles after implementing the eradication project and vaccine policy. The risk factors for measles infection included gender, age, residential environment, immunodeficiency, and vitamin A deficiency. Severe complication may occur in people less than 5 years old or above 20 years old without proper medical treatment, especially patients with immunodeficiency, malnutrition, vitamin A deficiency and no vaccination. Most of the confirmed measles cases were children less than 1 year old and the reason was probably due to infection prior to vaccination. Counties with high measles incidence rate were also related with outbreaks or cluster infection. In recent years, several outbreaks or community clusters caused by imported measles cases were found. The measles vaccination rate was over 95% in the recent years and the opportunity of overall outbreak of measles infection was low. However, community infection event may be induced by delayed vaccine inoculation, incomplete inoculation or children younger than the inoculation age. It is important to control the community infection event caused by imported cases in order to eliminate measles infection.