Schools remain a potential hotspot for measles transmission, even in the vaccine era

Monday, Nov 21, 2016
by Morgan Kelly

Measles, one of the world's most contagious diseases, can spread more quickly in schools than previously thought, according to Princeton University-led research. The researchers report in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that the only sure method of controlling measles among schoolchildren is to maintain very high vaccination rates.

The researchers conducted one of the first direct examinations of how measles spreads at the school level by reviewing data from a 1904 measles outbreak in London that affected 18 schools. While schools are known hotspots for infections such as measles, scientists actually have little information about the specific rate at which the measles spreads among children in school, explained senior author Bryan Grenfell, Princeton's Kathryn Briger and Sarah Fenton Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Public Affairs. The data came from the Wellcome Library's Collection of digitized historical medical documents maintained by the London-based Wellcome Trust.

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