Phl, other countries closer to measles elimination, WHO saysMonday, September 17, 2012 07:23 AM Views : 206Sheila Crisostomo
The 86 percent decline in measles cases in Western Pacific has brought the Philippines and other countries in the region "closer than ever measles elimination."
A World Health Organization (WHO) statement showed that measles cases are at a "historic low" in the region and it is "making excellent progress towards eliminating" the disease.
Efforts to reach more children with measles vaccine have rapidly reduced measles cases in the Region by 86 percent between 2008 and 2011. China, which accounts for 75 percent of the region's population, has reported a 92 percent drop is cases as a result in nationwide measles immunization effort," the statement further showed.
The findings were confirmed during a recent meeting of the WHO-Western Pacific Region's Technical Advisory Group for immunization (TAG) which found that 32 of the 37 countries and areas in the region might already be free from endemic measles.
According to Andrea Gay, executive director of children's health at the United Nations Foundation, China's national provincial and local government together with the communities are "reaching unprecedented numbers of children with measles vaccine."
Other nations that made "rapid progress" against measles are the Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, Japan and Vietnam.
The WHO statement showed that measles is one of the "most infectious viruses known to humans."
"It can cause serious illness and complications including pneumonia, diarrhea and blindness. Children with weak immune systems are at greater risk of death and measles still kills 380 children each day globally, particularly in India and countries of sub-Saharan African," the statement further showed.