Health chiefs are celebrating a new vaccination victory. The World Health Organisation has officially deemed the country clear of potentially deadly measles and rubella.
The coup brings the number of infectious illnesses eradicated in Portugal to five – the first three being malaria, polio and smallpox. Human rabies and diphtheria have also been stymied, though national policy remains to keep vaccinating children to ensure continued protection from the threat of ‘outsiders’.
Said Francisco George, director general of Portugal’s health authority, the news is “the result of a great deal of work done over the years. It is a prize that distinguishes the national health service. Mothers who no longer deal with measles should know that it is a very serious disease with very high fever that used to be contracted by all children. It could cause death and be the origin of pneumonias provoked by the virus itself. Its elimination has an immediate reflection on diseases and infant mortality”, he added, stressing “there are very few countries with results like ours”.