By NewsDesk  @bactiman63

On Tuesday, The World Health Organization made a very important announcement, particularly during these times–Sri Lanka has eliminated measles.

Image/Robert Herriman

“Sri Lanka’s achievement comes at a time when globally measles cases are increasing. The country’s success demonstrates its commitment, and the determination of its health workforce and parents to protect children against measles,” said Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director WHO South-East Asia, congratulating the island nation.

The country reported its last case of measles caused by an indigenous virus in May 2016. Sporadic cases, reported in the last three years have all been importations that were quickly detected, investigated and rapidly responded to.

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Elimination of measles is achieved when a country interrupts transmission of indigenous virus for three years. Rubella control is achieved when a country reduces the number of rubella cases by 95% as compared to cases in 2008. Last year Sri Lanka achieved rubella control.

The achievement was was due to Sri Lanka’s excellent vaccination coverage and surveillance system–over 95% with both the first and second dose of measles and rubella vaccine provided to children under the routine immunization program. The last mass vaccination program was in 2014.

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“Elimination of measles is a good indicator of the strength of immunization systems generally and, by extension, of the quality and reach of the primary health care system” the Regional Director said.

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