WHO confirms Hong Kong's interruption of measles transmission

2016-09-21 09:39:30 GMT2016-09-21 17:39:30(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

HONG KONG, Sept. 21 (Xinhua) -- The Regional Verification Commission for Measles Elimination in the Western Pacific of the World Health Organization (WHO) Wednesday confirmed that Hong Kong achieved the interruption of endemic measles virus transmission.

Welcoming the WHO's verification, Hong Kong's Department of Health (DH) highlighted that this is an important milestone for measles elimination in Hong Kong.

The WHO verifies measles elimination based on the interruption of local transmission for at least 36 months, a standard surveillance system and supportive genotyping evidence of the absence of endemic transmission, according to a spokesman for the DH.

"The achievement of Hong Kong exemplifies efforts of both the healthcare sector and the community in the prevention and control of local measles transmission over the years," he said.

Measles vaccination was incorporated into the Hong Kong Childhood Immunization Program back in 1967. In 2012, measles notification rates had declined to a record low of eight cases.

"Hong Kong maintains a quality system of measles notification, with high-performing epidemiological and laboratory surveillance for rapid responses to cases and outbreaks," the spokesman added.

The National Verification Committee for Measles Elimination in Hong Kong was established in 2012 to monitor the progress towards measles elimination. Hong Kong applied for verification in June 2016.

In the Western Pacific, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Japan, China's Macao and South Korea also achieved measles-free status.