Measles eliminated in Americas: WHO
Measles remains a leading cause of death among young children in the developing world
The milestone was confirmed after no cases of the highly contagious disease originating in the Americas were recorded in at least three years, the PAHO said.
Elimination means there are no more homegrown cases. The infection can still be imported and lead to outbreaks.
Globally, measles remains a leading cause of death among young children in the developing world.
About 250,000 people were infected with measles last year, most in Africa and Asia, the PAHO said.
The last outbreak of measles that originated in the Americas occurred in Venezuela in 2002, PAHO said.
Factors such as conflicts that made it difficult to access some communities slowed down the verification process, said Merceline Dahl-Regis, chair of a committee of experts responsible for verifying the elimination of measles and other diseases in the Americas.
"People still need to be vaccinated to maintain elimination," he said.
Measles is the fifth vaccine-preventable disease to be eliminated in the Americas — after smallpox in 1971, poliomyelitis in 1994, and rubella and congenital rubella syndrome in 2015, the PAHO said.
With files from CBC News