The Chinese government has drawn up a five-year action plan to eradicate measles.
The Ministry of Health has instructed local governments to maintain a high immunization rate by ensuring a two-dose vaccination rate of at least 95 percent.
All outbreaks and suspected cases of the disease must be investigated, according to the plan. The plan details proposals for a network of national, provincial and municipal measles-control laboratories to be built to World Health Organization (WHO) standards by 2012.
Special efforts should be made to ensure the inoculation of the migrant population as well as the children in impoverished and remote areas, the plan said.
Last year, China recorded about 130,000 measles cases nationwide, a rate at 10 per 100,000. Most provinces and regions saw measles outbreaks, including underdeveloped western regions and eastern areas with large rural-migrant floating populations.
The incidence rate has decreased by 95 percent since the 1990s due to planned immunizations that started in 1978, with the lowest figure in 1995 of about five per 100,000, according to the ministry's statistics.
However, since 1995, the incidence of measles has been rising. Last year saw the highest incidence rate in 10 years. Some provinces are still seeing a high prevalence this year.
According to the Law on Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases in China, measles is listed as a major infectious disease.
(Xinhua News Agency November 30, 2006)