Maldives, Sri Lanka eliminate measles and rubella, ahead of 2023 target

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News: Maldives and Sri Lanka have become the first two countries in the World Health Organisation’s South-East Asian Region (WHO SEAR) to have eliminated both measles and rubella ahead of the 2023 deadline.

Facts:

  • Criteria: A country is verified as having eliminated measles and rubella when there is no evidence of endemic transmission of the respective viruses for over three years in the presence of a well-performing surveillance system.
  • Other Countries:
    • Bhutan, DPR Korea and Timor-Leste are countries in the region which have eliminated measles.

Additional Facts:

  • WHO SEAR: It has 11 member countries- Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan, DPR Korea, Myanmar, Maldives and Timor-Leste.
  • Measles and Rubella(German measles): They are a contagious viral diseases that spreads by contact with an infected person through coughing and sneezing.Both of them can be entirely prevented with a two-dose of MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) vaccine.
  • Difference between Measles and Rubella:
    • Measles is caused by Rubeola virus and Rubella is caused by Rubella virus.
    • Rubella causes a milder illness than measles but it is of particular concern because if a pregnant woman becomes infected, the virus can cause severe birth defects known as Congenital Rubella Syndrome(CRS).
  • India: It has initiated the world’s largest Measles-Rubella(MR) Campaign in 2017.It targets vaccination of 410 million children and adolescents aged between 9 months and 15 years.