World Health Organisation declares Brazil free of measles

Jul 27, 2016 10:01 IST

The World Health Organization (WHO) on 26 July 2016 declared Brazil free of measles. The step was taken after no case of the disease was registered in 2015.

From 1985 to 2000, Brazil saw no domestic cases of measles, although it broke out in 2013 in the northeastern states of Pernambuco and Ceara.

The WHO it had worked alongside the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) to eradicated the disease, with a joint investment of 335000 US dollar going towards measles control.The health agency also hired 165 dedicated nursing staff in Brazil.

The WHO will issue a certification for the eradication of measles to Brazil in the coming months.

What is measles?

Measles is a highly contagious infection caused by the measles virus.

Symptoms usually develop 10–12 days after exposure to an infected person and last 7 to 10 days.

It is an airborne disease, which spreads easily through the coughs and sneezes of those infected.

It may also be spread through contact with saliva or nasal secretions.

Nine out of ten people who are not immune and share living space with an infected person will catch it.

Measles affects about 20 million people a year, primarily in the developing areas of Africa and Asia.

Most of those who are infected and who die are less than five years old.

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