No, measles was never eradicated

“There’s a popular refrain that goes like this: ‘Measles was declared eradicated in the United States in 2000, but it has recently made a comeback because of declining vaccination rates.’

Now, just how do we know that measles was eradicated in 2000? Well, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says so, of course. Here’s exactly what the CDC says on its website, in response to the question, “Has measles been eliminated from the United States?”:

‘Yes. In 2000, the United States declared that measles was eliminated from this country. The United States was able to eliminate measles because it has a highly effective measles vaccine, a strong vaccination program that achieves high vaccine coverage in children and a strong public health system for detecting and responding to measles cases and outbreaks.’

But there’s a little problem with this response. Read the question carefully again, and then read the answer… carefully. The CDC does not actually confirm that measles was eradicated in the US. It says that the US ‘declared’ that measles was eliminated. It’s a nice lead-in to what amounts to a clever attempt at deception to make the public believe that the disease was essentially wiped out in 2000.

There was a total of 86 reported cases of measles in the US in 2000. There were outbreaks before 2000, and there have been outbreaks every year since. Measles has never been eliminated or eradicated in the US. But the impression you might get from the CDC is that it was, and that the crazy anti-vaxxers came along and messed up everything.”

— Marco Cáceres


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