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

mothers and caregivers about the critical need to vaccinate their children," said Bonnie McElveen-Hunter, Chairman of the Board of the American Red Cross. "This mobilization helps us to consistently reach more than 90% of the vulnerable population and save countless lives."

The African region was the largest contributor to the global decline in measles deaths, accounting for about 63% of the reduction in deaths worldwide over the eight-year period. In 2007, measles outbreaks occurred in a number of African countries due to gaps in immunization coverage, reinforcing the need to continue immunization support.

"It's absolutely wonderful that so many children are off to a healthy start in life thanks to the progress we've made in combating measles through immunization," said Dr. Julie Gerberding, CDC Director. "Other children's lives are still at risk, however, so it's time we refocus our attention on sustaining our immunization efforts in countries where rates are low."

The progress in South-East Asia has been limited -- with just a 42% decline in measles deaths. This is due to the delayed implementation of large-scale vaccination campaigns in India, which currently accounts for two thirds of global measles deaths. Political commitment in India is essential if the 2010 global goal is to be achieved.

"The progress that has been made shows what can be achieved through measles vaccination campaigns, but much more needs to be done," said Ann M. Veneman, Executive Director of UNICEF. "It is a tragedy that measles still kills more than 500 children a day when there is a safe, effective and inexpensive vaccine to prevent the disease."

The world's success in reaching the 2010 measles goal depends on ensuring that all children receive two doses of measles vaccine including one dose by their first birthday, strengthening disease surveillance systems, and providing effect
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SOURCE American Red Cross
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