A measles outbreak in Montana in 1985 indicates vaccine failure. - GreenMedInfo Summary
A persistent outbreak of measles despite appropriate prevention and control measures.
Am J Epidemiol. 1987 Sep ;126(3):438-49. PMID: 3618578
From January 4 to May 13, 1985, an outbreak of 137 cases of measles occurred in Montana and persisted for 12 generations of spread. A total of 114 cases occurred on the Blackfeet Indian reservation in northwest Montana. Of the 137 cases, 82 (59.9%) were in school-aged children (aged 5-19 years). Of the 114 cases on the reservation, 108 (94.7%) were classified as programmatically nonpreventable. A total of 64 (82.1%) of the 78 patients on the reservation who were born after 1956 and were above the recommended age at vaccination had a history of adequate measles vaccination. Additionally, an audit of immunization records at the schools in Browning, Montana, where most of the cases occurred, showed that 98.7% of students were appropriately vaccinated. A retrospective cohort study in the Browning schools failed to identify age at vaccination or time since vaccination as significant risk factors for vaccine failure. Overall vaccine efficacy was 96.9% (95% confidence interval = 89.5-98.2%). None of 80 Browning students who were vaccinated at less than 12 months of age and revaccinated at 15 months of age or older became infected. A case-control study showed a significant association between attendance at Browning basketball games and infection early in the outbreak. This outbreak suggests that measles transmission may persist in some settings despite appropriate implementation of the current measles elimination strategy.