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Measles Deaths in Africa Plunge by 91%
Date:11/29/2007

Africa Leads Strong Decline in Global Measles Deaths

Joint News Release: American Red Cross/UN Foundation/CDC/WHO/UNICEF/62

ATLANTA, GENEVA, NEW YORK and WASHINGTON, Nov. 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Measles deaths in Africa fell by 91 percent between 2000 and 2006, from an estimated 396,000 to 36,000, reaching the United Nations 2010 goal to cut measles deaths by 90 percent four years early. The spectacular gains achieved in Africa helped generate a strong decline in global measles deaths, which fell 68 percent worldwide -- from an estimated 757,000 to 242,000 -- during this period.

The progress was announced today by the founding partners of the Measles Initiative: the American Red Cross, UNICEF, the United Nations Foundation, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). The data will be published in the November 30th editions of WHO's Weekly Epidemiological Record and CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

"This is a major public health success and a tribute to the commitment of countries in the African region," said Dr. Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General. "We need to sustain this success and intensify our efforts in other parts of the world, as there are still far too many lives lost to this disease."

The significant decline in measles deaths in Africa was made possible by the firm commitment of national governments to fully implement the measles reduction strategy, which includes vaccinating all children against measles before their first birthday via routine health services and providing a second opportunity for measles vaccination through mass vaccination campaigns.

"The clear message from this achievement is that the strategy works," said CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding. "The next step is to fully implement this strategy in South Asia, where measles disease burden is now the highest in the world."


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SOURCE American Red Cross
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