According to a study recently published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases Auistralia is on track to become the first country in the world to eradicate cervical cancer. This is thanks in part to a vaccination program targeting the human papillomavirus (HPV), which causes cervical cancer. Over the last 10 years alone, HPV prevalence among Australian women ages 18-24 has dropped from 22.7% to 1.5%, IFLScience.com reported. While these results are impressive, it's interesting to note that only 553% of women in Australia are vaccinated against HPV. So how is it possible they're achieving such amazing results?
A form of immunity called "herd effect" or "herd immunity" is to thank. Herd immunity occurs "when the vaccination of a significant portion of a population manages to damped the spread of a disease enough to protect those who are not vaccinated." "Our national HPV immunisation program for both boys and girls, combined with our cervical cancer population screening, means we are well positioned to be the first country to effectively end this deadly cancer," lead author Professor Susan Garland, Director of the Centre for Women's Infectious Diseases at the Royal Women's Hospital said in a statement.