Strong political support and public health systems are essential to fight measles outbreaks, which are growing in frequency worldwide, argue public health experts. The findings of the study are published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
"Sustaining measles elimination requires strong regional public health systems," write Drs. Natasha Crowcroft and Shelly Bolotin, Public Health Ontario and Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario.
"In a globalized society in which we are all connected, a disease as infectious as measles the most infectious of the vaccine-preventable diseases is easily spread. To prevent this, public health programs need to deliver close to 100% immunization coverage, which is challenging on a technical level."
"In the war against microbes, victories are achieved at a huge price, and the peace that follows is fragile," write the authors.
"It took many years for the Americas to verify the elimination of measles in 2016. It took only two years of political disruption in Venezuela to disrupt the health system enough to obliterate this achievement."
Ensuring that everyone is vaccinated is complex and requires coordination at the local level, which is undermined by the pockets of anti-vaccination proponents. Strong public health systems are needed to ensure everyone is immunized and to track this uptake accurately.