On 20 September 2012, ministers of health of the Region approved an emergency plan of action to keep the Americas free of measles, rubella, and congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) at the 28th Pan American Sanitary Conference. Given the continuing circulation of measles and rubella viruses in other regions of the world, countries of the Region continue to be exposed to high risk of virus importations. Moreover, some countries have reported weaknesses and failures in their national surveillance systems and routine immunization programmes, making them vulnerable to the reintroduction of viruses that can cause outbreaks.
The emergency plan of action was formulated for the next two years to address weaknesses identified in the immunization and surveillance programmes during the process to document and verify measles and rubella elimination. To sustain and build on this elimination achievement, PAHO has urged Member States to maintain high-quality, elimination-standard surveillance and high population immunization coverage against measles and rubella (>95%). Full implementation of intensified vaccination activities to maintain elimination status will be essential to ensure high immunization coverage, especially in areas that have susceptible populations. As part of the emergency action plan, countries should integrate the proposed activities for maintaining measles, rubella, and CRS elimination in their an-nual plans of action for national immunization programmes.