Peru celebrates being measles-free for nine years

Because of nationwide prevention and vaccination campaigns, Peru has been measles-free for nine years, reported the Andean country’s Health Ministry on Wednesday.

The last registered case of measles was that of 3-year old David Gómez Núñez. He was diagnosed with the measles in 2000, in Callao’s district of Ventanilla.

In April 2008, an imported case of measles was detected, also in Callao. It was brought over to Peru from India by a 19-year old male, but rapidly detected, and controlled.

Measles is a highly contagious, serious disease caused by a virus the paramyxovirus family.

It remains a leading cause of death among young children globally, despite the availability of a safe and effective vaccine. An estimated 197,000 people died from measles in 2007, mostly children under the age of five.

However, according to the World Health Organization, or WHO, measles vaccination efforts have reaped major public health gains, resulting in a 74 percent drop in measles deaths between 2000 and 2007 worldwide – a drop of about 90 percent in the eastern Mediterranean and Africa regions.

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