Americas declared free of measles-Prelims-2017

  • The Region of the Americas is the first in the world to have eliminated measles, a viral disease that can cause severe health problems, including pneumonia, blindness, brain swelling and even death. This achievement culminates a 22-year effort involving mass vaccination against measles, mumps and rubella throughout the Americas.
  • The declaration of measles’ elimination was made by the International Expert Committee for Documenting and Verifying Measles, Rubella, and Congenital Rubella Syndrome Elimination in the Americas. The announcement came during the 55thDirecting Council of the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), which is currently underway and is being attended by ministers of Health from throughout the Americas.

  • Measles is the fifth vaccine-preventable disease to be eliminated from the Americas, after the regional eradication of smallpox in 1971, poliomyelitis in 1994, and rubella and congenital rubella syndrome in 2015.

    About Measles
    • Measles is one of the most contagious diseases and affects children primarily.
    • It is transmitted by airborne droplets or via direct contact with secretions from the nose, mouth, and throat of infected individuals.
    • Symptoms include high fever, generalized rash all over the body, stuffy nose, and reddened eyes.
    • It can cause serious complications including blindness, encephalitis, severe diarrhea, ear infections and pneumonia, particularly in children with nutritional problems and in immunocompromised patients.

    Source: Science Daily

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