WHO helps North Korea battle measles outbreak

WHO helps North Korea battle measles outbreak | Courtesy of
A technical team from the World Health Organization’s (WHO) regional office in East Asia has partnered with UNICEF to help North Korea battle a measles outbreak by planning and implementing a measles vaccination campaign.

The health professionals began this process in March and have helped national authorities through the first phase of developing and carrying out the campaign. From March 14-16, over 6 million children between 6 months and 15 years old have been vaccinated for measles in North Korea.

"All countries, even those where measles is no longer a public health problem, are at risk for importations of measles virus and subsequent outbreaks if they have not been able to maintain population immunity overall or have groups in their population who are susceptible to measles, " Peter Strebel, WHO's medical officer for department of immunization, vaccines and biologicals, said.

Department director Jean-Marie Okwo-Bele said that while "outstanding progress" has been made in reducing measles cases and deaths worldwide, we cannot let down our guard.

“Measles is one of the most contagious diseases known and unless all children are immunized, they are at risk of contracting it,” Okwo-Bele said.