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Global Measles Deaths Drop By 74%
Date:12/4/2008

The Eastern Mediterranean region achieves measles goal three years early

ATLANTA and GENEVA and NEW YORK and WASHINGTON, Dec. 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Measles deaths worldwide fell by 74% between 2000 and 2007, from an estimated 750,000 to 197,000. In addition, the Eastern Mediterranean region* which includes countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, and the Sudan has cut measles deaths by a remarkable 90% -- from an estimated 96,000 to 10,000 -- during the same period, thus achieving the United Nations goal to reduce measles deaths by 90% by 2010, three years early.

The progress was announced today by the founding partners of the Measles Initiative: the American Red Cross, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the United Nations Foundation (UN Foundation), UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO). The data will be published in the 5 December edition of WHO's Weekly Epidemiological Record and CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

"This achievement is a tribute to the hard work and commitment of countries in the Eastern Mediterranean region to combat measles," said Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General. "With only two years until the 2010 target date, I urge all countries affected by measles to intensify their efforts to immunize all children against the disease."

The significant decline in measles deaths in the Eastern Mediterranean region was the result of intensified vaccination campaigns including several countries with hard-to-reach areas. In 2007, more than twice the number of children were immunized in the region through such campaigns as compared to 2006.

"There are thousands of health workers and volunteers from our Red Cross and Red Crescent family who deserve much of the credit for this success. They give their time to literally go door-to-door informing, educating and motivating
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SOURCE American Red Cross
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