An international expert committee responsible for verifying the elimination of measles, rubella and congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) from the Americas is meeting this week (Mar. 21-22) at PAHO headquarters to map out progress made and actions still needed for these diseases to be finally declared eliminated.

Photos PAHO/WHO David Spitz

The committee will hear from members of national and subregional commissions that have been compiling and analyzing data for their review. Topics to be discussed include current evidence on the interruption of endemic transmission of these diseases, the last known endemic cases, the process of documenting and verifying elimination, and the challenges of maintaining elimination despite the risk of importations from other regions.

Participants include experts from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, and Venezuela. Also participating are representatives of agencies that are supporting elimination efforts, including the American Red Cross, the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the Sabin Vaccine Institute, UNICEF, the United Nations Foundation and PAHO.

Public health leaders from throughout the hemisphere set the goal of verifying measles, rubella and CRS elimination from the Americas by the end of 2012.