Measles cases in China fall to record low

Measles cases in China reached a record low in 2011, a spokesman for the Chinese Department of Health announced recently.

In 2010, there were 29.6 confirmed measles cases per million in China, but that number dropped to 7.6 per million in 2011, according to

In a recent news briefing, the ministry said that China had repeatedly ranked highest in the world in terms of its measles rate, prompting a concerted effort on the part of public health officials. Deng Haihua, a ministry spokesman, said that effective preventative measures were put into place.

Health Minister Chen Zhu said that eliminating measles entirely was a goal of the 12th Five-Year Plan period of 2011-2015.

Ministry figures show that approximately 102 million people received measles vaccinations in China in 2010. A September 2010 measles campaign specifically targeted children between the ages of eight months and four years. The program was later expanded to include children up to the age of 14 in more populous areas, according to Xinhua.

Before the campaign, Liang Xiaofeng, the director of the National Immunization Program of the Chinese Center for Disease Control, sought to reassure parents that the vaccine formula was safe and effective. He said it had been used in China for 40 years without adverse effects.

The measles is an infectious virus that causes skin rashes coughing and fever. Most who fall ill recover after several days rest. In some cases, however, measles can lead to complications such as pneumonia and even cause death.