The World Health Organization European Region released a new framework on Monday that outlined steps to report, document and verify the elimination of measles and rubella, as well as steps to ensure elimination status is maintained.
The process was developed in consultation with member states and the Regional Verification Commission (RVC) for Measles and Rubella Elimination.
Annual reports will be submitted by member states to the RVC with information about measles and rubella epidemiology, virology surveillance, analyses of vaccinated population, quality surveillance and the sustainability of the national immunization program. The RVC will review the reports to determine if an interruption of endemic transmission has occurred and been maintained.
The WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization agreed that it is feasible to eliminate both diseases because they were halted in large areas, depend solely on humans for transmission and have vaccines integrated into most member states' immunization programs. The elimination of rubella is particularly feasible because the disease is less contagious than measles.
WHO outlined priorities for member states to eliminate the diseases by the 2015 target, including strengthening vaccination and immunizations systems, surveillance, outbreak prevention, education, resource mobilization and verification of elimination.