WHO says Cambodia is measles-free

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Phnom Penh-The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Cambodian Ministry of Health on Friday said Cambodia had achieved the elimination of measles.

This is made known in a joint statement released to newsmen in Phnom Penh.

According to the statement, there has been no laboratory- confirmed measles cases reported in the country since November 2011.

It said the WHO Regional Verification Commission for Measles met on March 24 to March 27 in China’s Macao and declared Cambodia along with Brunei and Japan to have successfully eliminated measles.

Dongil Ahn, Representative of WHO-Cambodia, congratulated Cambodia for its decades-long efforts toward eliminating measles.

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“Our next steps now would be to strengthen measles surveillance activities and maintain optimal population immunity,’’ he said.

Cambodian Health Minister, Mam Bunheng, expressed gratitude to all stakeholders and development partners for working with Cambodia to achieve that status.

“Measles is the most highly infectious disease worldwide, killing approximately 400 people every day, mostly children under the age of five,’’ the statement said.

Cambodia was endemic to measles for many years.

The Ministry of Health established a measles vaccination programme in 1986 and started case-based surveillance in 1998. (Xinhua/NAN)