Have you had chickenpox? Do you remember how ill it made you feel? Add a fever and aching bones, and you’re close to how you’d feel if you had measles.
Chickenpox and measles are caused by viruses, and both are very contagious. This means they can spread very easily from one person to another. Measles can make you very sick, and people can even die from it.
Luckily for us, measles is now very uncommon in countries with strong health care, because most people get vaccinated by doctors or nurses when they are young. However, not all countries have good health care. In these countries, measles still kills tens of thousands of children every year. Vaccination programs have reduced the number of cases, but it’s very hard to completely eliminate it and stop it from coming back.
In this study, we created mathematical models to study how well different vaccination programs could work at preventing the disease from spreading through a country. We learned that under the right conditions, it can be possible to keep measles away for good.