Despite widespread vaccination, measles remains a leading cause of death in children globally, and elimination of measles has been particularly challenging in China, the largest country with endemic measles transmission. "While since 2008 China has reported greater than the 95 percent vaccination target coverage set by the World Health Organization for measles elimination, measles has continued to cause large outbreaks every year for reasons that remain undetermined," said Wan Yang, PhD, assistant professor of Epidemiology at the Columbia Mailman School, and lead author.
With the ground-breaking modeling tool, the Columbia Mailman researchers were able to estimate key epidemiological parameters in Beijing, Guangzhou, and Shandong -- during 1951-2004.
Research - Team - Population - Data - Measles
The research team collected detailed population data on yearly measles incidence and vaccination rates for the three sites. Since the data were often sparse for an entire city or province in any given year, the model-inference system enabled the investigators to study the long-term transmission dynamics of the disease and identify key epidemiological factors that may be contributing to measles' persistent transmission.
"After thoroughly validating the model-inference system, we were able to show its accuracy in estimating out-of-sample data not used in the model and then apply it to estimate epidemiological and demographical characteristics key to measles transmission during 1951-2004 for these three key locations," noted Yang.
Measles - Research - Past - Countries - Inference
Much of measles research in the past had only focused on industrialized countries. The inference system that Yang and colleagues developed takes into account complex and changing population demographics, contact patterns, age-structure, mass vaccination, as well as under-reporting.
Major cities in China with large migrant populations resulted in endemic measles transmission during the recent decade in particular, Yang...
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