Measles eradicated in the Americas

On Tuesday, the World Health Organization declared the Region of the Americas to be the first region in the world to eradicate the measles, marking the culmination of a 22-year effort involving mass vaccination campaigns.

The measles is the fifth disease to be eliminated in the Americas, preceded by the regional eradication of smallpox in 1971, poliomyelitis in 1994 and rubella and congenital rubella syndrome in 2015. In the Americas, more than 100,000 deaths were attributable to the measles from 1971 to 1979.

Measles is an extremely contagious disease characterized by high fever and generalized rash all over the body. It is passed via direct contact with secretions from the nose, mouth and throat of infected individuals and primarily effects children. Some travel-associated cases of the measles continue to occur in nations of the Americas Region.

"This is a historic day for our region and indeed the world," said Carissa F. Etienne, MD, the director of the Pan American Health Organization, which operates as the Regional Office of the Americas for the WHO. "It is proof of the remarkable success that can be achieved when countries work together in solidarity towards a common goal. It is the result of a commitment made more than two decades ago, in 1994, when the countries of the Americas pledged to end measles circulation by the turn of the 21st century."

More articles on infection control: 
3 reasons parents skip their children's flu shot 
10 most-read infection control stories in September 
Mysterious rash outbreak strikes Calif. elementary school

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