Epidemics, air travel, and elimination in a globalized world: The case of measles

Shaun Truelove, Luis Mier-Y-Teran-Romero, Paul Gastanaduy, Allison Taylor Walker, Andre Berro, Justin Lessler, Michael A. Johansson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although the United States (U.S.) declared measles eliminated in 2000, so long as measles circulates globally, continued importations will trigger sporadic U.S. outbreaks. The United States is highly connected to the rest of the world, and importations occur largely as a result of air travel by U.S. residents and international visitors. We developed a model to assess the risk of measles virus importation from Europe, Asia, and Africa through air travel. We projected 308 (95% prediction interval, 151-518) total measles cases imported from 66 countries during 2006-2015; 290 importations were reported. The model projected a spike in importation risk from Israel during October 2018, coincident with large, importation-triggered outbreaks in New York and New Jersey. Our model shows U.S. importation risk primarily originates from European and Asian countries. Models such as this inform preemptive actions to mitigate infectious disease threats, but only if we prioritize global surveillance and data sharing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalUnknown Journal
StatePublished - May 12 2020


  • Air travel
  • Elimination
  • Importation
  • Measles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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