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NBC: Measles eliminated in Americas, including United States, reports World Health Organization

Posted at 12:38 PM, Sep 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-28 13:38:19-04

The United States, along with the rest of the Americas, can breathe a little easier now that the measles have been eliminated from Canada to Chile, reports The World Health Organization.

WHO says this feat is the first time the highly contagious virus has been eliminated from an entire region, reports NBC News. 

Sustained vaccination campaigns are said to be the reason for the elimination, reports WHO.

"After a year of targeted actions and enhanced surveillance, the last case of measles in Brazil was registered in July 2015," the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) told NBC News said.

NBC News clarifies that eliminating the disease means there are no more “homegrown causes” but that the infection itself can still be imported from elsewhere, which could cause another outbreak.

"It is my hope that other regions are encouraged by the lessons of the Americas," WHO director-general Dr. Margaret Chan told the meeting, says NBC News.

Before a vaccination for the measles was created in 1960s and the mass vaccination in the 1980s, the measles killed nearly 2.6 million people a year, reports WHO.