By James Simons
Measles has been eliminated in the UK for the first time, according to the World Health Organization.
The WHO describes a country as having eliminated the disease when it has stopped it freely circulating for at least three years. Measles, which is caused by the measles virus is an airborne disease that is easily contagious through the coughing and sneezing of an infected person.
Health experts have warned against complacency, citing several large outbreaks across Europe.
The news comes just a week after England announced that it had reached its target of vaccinating most of its children by the time they are one years of age. England achieved having 95% of children to have had the first dose of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine by their first birthday.
MMR vaccination rates dropped after a panic caused by former doctor, Andrew Wakefield, who falsely claimed in the late 1990s that the jab caused autism. Prior to that, the UK was on track
The latest quarterly report on measles, covering April to June, show just over 60 cases in England. Most were in London, linked to small family clusters and imported from abroad.
One was reported in Scotland, with small outbreaks in Wales and Northern Ireland connected to the one in Romania where there is a major outbreak.
Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunization at Public Health England hailed the accomplishment as ”a huge achievement and a testament to all the hard work by our health professionals in the NHS to ensure that all children and adults are fully protected with two doses of the MMR vaccine.
“We need to ensure that this is sustained going forward by maintaining and improving coverage of the MMR vaccine in children and by catching up older children and young adults who missed out.”
Measles have for decades been an unnecessary interruption in the lives of young children,inflaming and surrounding a baby’s face and body. This is after the initial symptoms of fever and running nose. The elimination of measles is a major breakthrough to medical science.