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Completeness of Measles Case Reporting: Review of Estimates for the United States

Rafael Harpaz
The Journal of Infectious Diseases
Vol. 189, Supplement 1. Progress toward Measles Elimination: Absence of Measles as an Endemic Disease in the United States (May 1, 2004), pp. S185-S190
Published by: Oxford University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30075852
Page Count: 6
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Completeness of Measles Case Reporting: Review of Estimates for the United States
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Abstract

Measles surveillance is complex: the patient must seek health care, the diagnosis must be recognized by the physician, and the case must be reported to health departments. The portion of total (incident) measles cases that is reported to health departments is termed "completeness of reporting." Few studies describe this measure of the quality of surveillance in the United States; these studies use different methods, but they are all limited because the actual number of measles cases needed to derive completeness of reporting could not be determined. Estimates of completeness of reporting from the 1980s and 1990s vary widely, from 3% to 58%. One study suggests that 85% of patients with measles sought health care, the proportion of compatible illnesses for which measles was considered varied from 13% to 75%, and the proportion of suspected cases that were reported varied from 22% to 67%. Few cases were laboratory-confirmed, but all were reported. Surveillance in the United States is responsive, and its sensitivity likely increases when measles is circulating. Continued efforts to reinforce the clinical recognition and reporting of measles cases are warranted.

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