Despite there being pockets of the global populace who are convinced vaccinating against preventable diseases is somehow a bad thing, the World Health Organisation has announced the the UK has eliminated measles for the very first time.
This doesn't mean the number of measles infections has dropped to zero, unfortunately, but WHO considers a disease 'eliminated' when it has stopped freely circulating for at least three years. This news comes a week after it was announced England had reached its target of having 95 per cent of children under the age of five receive their first vaccination against measles, mumps, and rubella.
Unfortunately health experts have warned that the news shouldn't lead to complacency, because there are currently several large measles outbreak happening across Europe. The news also doesn't mean the virus has been completely wiped out. There were 500 cases of measles reported in the UK last year, many of which were linked to music festival attendees. Thankfully herd immunity means it wasn't able to spread very far.
So far there have been 100 reported cases in England this year, along with small clusters of infection in Wales and Northern Ireland which have been linked to a major outbreak in Romania.
The UK had been on track to eliminating measles before, but vaccination rates suffered after the (now debunked) research from Andrew Wakefield that claimed there was a link between the MMR vaccine and autism. But luckily things are back on track, with the UK joining 41 other European countries that have managed to eliminate measles. Good job, people. [BBC News]