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UNICEF & Merck Partner to Protect 100,000 Children and Young People Against Mumps Epidemic
Date:6/9/2008

NEW YORK, June 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Officials with the U.S. Fund for UNICEF and global pharmaceutical company, Merck & Co., Inc. announced the donation and delivery of 100,000 doses of M-M-R(R) II (measles, mumps and rubella virus vaccine, live, attenuated) to the government of the former Soviet republic of Moldova, in response to an ongoing serious mumps outbreak in that country.

The vaccine is a combination vaccine against three diseases, measles, mumps, and rubella, and will be used to respond to the current mumps epidemic in a national immunization campaign for children and young people born between 1989 and 1994 to be carried out by the Moldovan Ministry of Health. The vaccine has been in use since the 1970s and more than 500 million doses of the vaccine have been distributed worldwide.

"Merck's donation of vaccines to assist in Moldova's immunization campaign is a shining example of corporate goodwill," said Caryl Stern, president and CEO, U.S. Fund for UNICEF. "We are pleased to partner with our friends at Merck to do whatever it takes to save a child."

"Public health crises such as this help remind us of the critical need for vaccinations. Merck's long history of success in discovering, developing and making potentially life saving vaccines helps us build a more productive and healthier future for all people," said Jeffrey Sturchio Ph.D., vice president of Corporate Responsibility for Merck. "UNICEF's first-hand knowledge of the situation and expertise in logistics made them the best choice to help coordinate the timely delivery of this important vaccine."

According to Moldovan Ministry of Health data, since the beginning of the year nearly 24,800 people have been infected with mumps, of which 9,615 persons were hospitalized, most of them having suffered complications such as pancreatitis, meningitis and orchitis. Children and young people between 14 and 24 years proved to be the most vulnerable, 80 percent of them
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SOURCE U.S. Fund for UNICEF
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