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Historical data and modern methods reveal insights in measles epidemiology: a retrospective closed cohort study

Paterson, Beverley J; Kirk, Martyn D; Cameron, A Scott; D'Este, Catherine; Durrheim, David N

Description

OBJECTIVES Measles was endemic in England during the early 1800s; however, it did not arrive in Australia until 1850 whereas other infectious diseases were known to have arrived much earlier-many with the First Fleet in 1788-leading to the question of why there was a difference. DESIGN Ships surgeons' logbooks from historical archives, 1829-1882, were retrospectively reviewed for measles outbreak data. Infectious disease modelling techniques were applied to determine whether ships would reach...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorPaterson, Beverley J
dc.contributor.authorKirk, Martyn D
dc.contributor.authorCameron, A Scott
dc.contributor.authorD'Este, Catherine
dc.contributor.authorDurrheim, David N
dc.date.accessioned2015-12-21T04:48:37Z
dc.date.available2015-12-21T04:48:37Z
dc.identifier.issn2044-6055
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/95148
dc.description.abstractOBJECTIVES Measles was endemic in England during the early 1800s; however, it did not arrive in Australia until 1850 whereas other infectious diseases were known to have arrived much earlier-many with the First Fleet in 1788-leading to the question of why there was a difference. DESIGN Ships surgeons' logbooks from historical archives, 1829-1882, were retrospectively reviewed for measles outbreak data. Infectious disease modelling techniques were applied to determine whether ships would reach Australia with infectious measles cases. SETTING Historical ship surgeon logbooks of measles outbreaks occurring on journeys from Britain to Australia were examined to provide new insights into measles epidemiology. PRIMARY AND SECONDARY OUTCOME MEASURES Serial intervals and basic reproduction numbers (R(0)), immunity, outbreak generations, age-distribution, within-family transmission and outbreak lengths for measles within these closed cohorts. RESULTS Five measles outbreaks were identified (163 cases). The mean serial interval (101 cases) was 12.3 days (95% CI 12.1 to 12.5). Measles R(0) (95 cases) ranged from 7.7-10.9. Immunity to measles was lowest among children ≤10 years old (range 37-42%), whereas 94-97% of adults appeared immune. Outbreaks ranged from 4-6 generations and, before 1850, were 41 and 38 days in duration. Two outbreaks after 1850 lasted longer than 70 days and one lasted 32 days. CONCLUSIONS Measles syndrome reporting in a ship surgeon's logs provided remarkable detail on prevaccination measles epidemiology in the closed environment of ship voyages. This study found lower measles R(0) and a shorter mean clinical serial interval than is generally reported. Archival ship surgeon log books indicate it was unlikely that measles was introduced into Australia before 1850, owing to high levels of pre-existing immunity in ship passengers, low numbers of travelling children and the journey's length from England to Australia.
dc.description.sponsorshipg BP was supported by a Master of Applied Epidemiology scholarship from the Australian Government and a Hunter Medical Research Institute Research Fellowship
dc.publisherBMJ Publishing Group
dc.rightsThis final article is available for use under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 2.0 Licence; see http://bmjopen.bmj.com
dc.sourceBMJ Open
dc.subjectmeasles epidemiology
dc.subjecthistorical data
dc.titleHistorical data and modern methods reveal insights in measles epidemiology: a retrospective closed cohort study
dc.typeJournal article
local.description.notesImported from ARIES
local.identifier.citationvolume3
dc.date.issued2013
local.identifier.absfor111706
local.identifier.ariespublicationf5625xPUB2548
local.type.statusPublished Version
local.contributor.affiliationPaterson, Beverley J, University of Newcastle, Australia
local.contributor.affiliationKirk, Martyn, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, CMBE Research School of Population Health, Natl Centre for Epidemiology & Population Health, The Australian National University
local.contributor.affiliationCameron, A Scott, University of Adelaide, Australia
local.contributor.affiliationD'Este, Catherine, University of Newcastle, Australia
local.contributor.affiliationDurrheim, David N, Hunter New England Population Health, Australia
local.identifier.essn2044-6055
local.bibliographicCitation.issue1
local.bibliographicCitation.startpagee002033
local.bibliographicCitation.lastpagee002033
local.identifier.doi10.1136/bmjopen-2012-002033
local.identifier.absseo920599
dc.date.updated2016-02-24T09:00:17Z
local.identifier.scopusID2-s2.0-84873548310
local.identifier.thomsonID000315082400041
dcterms.accessRightsOpen Access
CollectionsANU Research Publications

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