18 Dec 2013, BioSpectrum Bureau , BioSpectrum
Singapore: Fifty years after the approval of an effective vaccine against measles, one of the world's most contagious diseases, the virus still poses a threat to domestic and global health security, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. On an average day, 430 children, 18 every hour die of measles worldwide. In 2011, there were an estimated 158,000 measles deaths.
"A measles outbreak anywhere is a risk everywhere," said Dr Tom Frieden, director, CDC. "The steady arrival of measles in the US is a constant reminder that deadly diseases are testing our health security every day. Someday, it won't be only measles at the international arrival gate; so, detecting diseases before they arrive is a wise investment in U.S. health security."
"Eliminating measles worldwide has benefits beyond the lives saved each year. Actions taken to stop measles can also help us stop other diseases in their tracks. CDC and its partners are building a global health security infrastructure that can be scaled up to deal with multiple emerging health threats," Mr. Frieden said.
Currently, only one-in-five countries can rapidly detect, respond to, or prevent global health threats caused by emerging infections. Improvements overseas, such as strengthening surveillance and lab systems, training disease detectives, and building facilities to investigate disease outbreaks make the world more secure.
"There may be a misconception that infectious diseases are over in the industrialized world. But in fact, infectious diseases continue to be, and will always be, with us. Global health and protecting our country go hand in hand," Dr Frieden said.