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Measles Deaths Falling Worldwide
Date:4/24/2012

sles deaths fell from more than 535,000 in 2000 to around 139,000 in 2010. Almost half of those deaths (47 percent) occurred in India, and more than one-third (36 percent) in Africa.

Other areas in southeast Asia accounted for 8 percent of deaths; the eastern Mediterranean region, 7 percent; the western Pacific region, 2 percent; and the Americas and Europe less than 1 percent each.

It's believed that the high death rates in India and Africa are due to lower vaccination rates.

India's vaccination rate is about 74 percent, and Africa's is 76 percent. For the rest of Southeast Asia the vaccination rate is 79 percent, in the Eastern Mediterranean it's 85 percent and in the Americas it's 93 percent. Europe has a 95 percent vaccination rate and the Western Pacific has a 97 percent rate, the researchers said.

All regions except Southeast Asia plan to eradicate measles by 2020 or sooner, they added.

"Despite rapid progress in measles control from 2000 to 2007, delayed implementation of accelerated disease control in India and continued outbreaks in Africa stalled momentum toward the 2010 global measles mortality reduction goal," the researchers concluded.

"Intensified control measures and renewed political and financial commitment are needed to achieve mortality reduction targets and lay the foundation for future global eradication of measles," they added.

"This is a highly preventable illness," said Dr. Walter Orenstein, a professor of medicine and pediatrics and director of the Emory Vaccine Center at Emory University in Atlanta.

Orenstein, co-author of an accompanying journal editorial, said financially supporting immunization efforts around the world not only saves lives, but also helps prevent measles from entering the United States.

"In 2000, the U.S. declared that measles was no longer an indigenous disease," he said. "So all of our cases of measles are now due to importations with limited spread, w
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