In September of 2016 the Pan-American and World Health Organizations announced that the Americas were the first region in the world to have eradicated endemic measles. The organizations stated that the achievement was the culmination of a 22-year mass vaccination effort against mumps, measles and rubella throughout the Americas thus making measles fifth vaccine-preventable disease to be eliminated in the region.
Prior to the 1980 start of the mass vaccination effort measles was responsible for over 2.5 million deaths world-wide per year with over 100,000 deaths believed to be attributable to measles in the Americas in the decade before mass vaccination started. According to information from the World Health Organization the mass vaccination effort is having significant positive effects as the number of deaths world-wide was down to 134,200 in 2015. This is especially important considering that with these efforts measles still remains one of the leading causes of world-wide deaths among children. While endemic measles may have been eliminated in the Americas the issue we are faced with here is that as measles continues to circulate in other parts of the world the risk of developing endemics from imported cases remains. The major measles outbreak in 2015 is believed to have resulted from such an importation.
Until measles has been globally eradicated measles vaccination remains the mainstay to prevent being infected with and/or spread of the disease. In the United States MMR vaccine if the main source for vaccination against measles. In addition to measles MMR vaccine, which is administered by injection, also provides coverage for mumps and rubella.
While the vast majority of those who receive a measles vaccine experience no adverse reaction, adverse reactions can occur. If you think you or someone you know has been injured by a vaccine, compensation for the injury may be available.
The other four vaccine-preventable diseases which have been eliminated in the Americas are smallpox in 1971, polio in 1994, rubella and congenital rubella syndrome in 2015.