Finally, WHO (World Health Organisation) has officially declared that measles eliminated from the Americas.
Now the Americas not just mean the US, but it also includes the area from Canada to Chile and all the countries in between.
First Region Where Measles Eliminated:
More than 50 years since a vaccine became available; it’s the first region in the world to have rid itself of all local cases of the viral disease and a pretty huge deal for public health.
Director of the Pan American Health Organisation Carissa Etienne made the announcement with the WHO and said: “This is a historic day for our region and indeed the world.”
“It is proof of the remarkable success that can be achieved when countries work together in solidarity towards a common goal,” she added.
Though the measles eliminated within the Americas, but people can still catch the virus in the region from outsiders. In the US alone there have been 54 cases such found this year where the infections originate overseas and are brought in by travellers.
The last home-grown occurrence in the Americas was in Venezuela in 2002. The US was declared free of measles way back in 2000.
Eliminating a viral disease from a region doesn’t mean it has been wiped out it fully. It can only be possible when it gets removed from the entire planet.
Some Eradicated Diseases:
To date, there is only one disease that mankind have managed to successfully eradicate from the planet. It is smallpox. And all thanks go to the smallpox vaccination which was developed by Edward Jenner in 1796. The last case of smallpox was reported in 1977, and the disease was declared eradicated in 1980.
There is another disease which is close to eradicating. It is Guinea worm disease, caused by the parasitic Guinea worm. Now it exists only in four countries. With its territory shrinking thanks to water filtration devices introduced worldwide.
As the measles is still widespread in many parts of the world, it’s worth staying attentive. Measles still kills more than 100,000 people around the world each year.
So, stay protected and stay educated. Otherwise, it can cause another outbreak as happened in California in 2014.
“I would like to emphasise that our work on this front is not yet done,” said Etienne. “We cannot become complacent with this achievement but must rather protect it carefully.”