Minister De Weever supports efforts to keep the Americas Free of Measles and Rubella


Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labour Hon. Cornelius de Weever says he supports efforts by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) to strengthen activities for preventing the re-introduction of eliminated diseases in the Hemisphere.


The objective is to keep the Americas free of measles, rubella, and congenital rubella syndrome. The countries of the Region have agreed on an emergency plan of action to prevent the re-introduction of the aforementioned, which have already been eliminated in the Americas.

Sint Maarten is an associate member of PAHO, and has an active immunization program in place.

As part of the Minister of Public Health’s Hon. Cornelius de Weever campaign ‘Get Checked,’ the Minister reiterates his calling on parents/guardians with young children to visit the Collective Prevention Services (CPS) to have their child’s vaccination status checked to make sure it’s up to date with the relevant immunizations.

The Region continues to be at risk, since imported cases from other regions of the world can lead to outbreaks and pose a risk to maintaining the elimination of the diseases.

The emergency plan of action calls on the Member States to strengthen active surveillance of these diseases by ensuring timely outbreak response measures for imported viruses, and to maintain immunization coverage of 95 percent or more.

In November 2002, the Region eliminated measles through immunization coverage. In 2011, however, 171 outbreaks caused by imported measles cases were documented, resulting in persistent transmission of the virus in at least three countries (Canada, Ecuador, and Brazil). These imported measles outbreaks put the Region’s achievements at risk.

From 1998 to 2006, confirmed cases of rubella plummeted by 98 per cent, from 135,947 to 3,005. In 2007, however, the Americas experienced a resurgence of cases due to importations of the virus into countries whose mass vaccination campaigns had initially targeted only females.

As a result of the outbreaks in three countries, confirmed cases of rubella soared from 3,005 in 2006 to 13,187 in 2007, resulting in 27 reported cases of congenital rubella syndrome between 2008 and 2009.