Worldwide measles deaths declining

Sept. 29, 2011 at 9:15 PM
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ATLANTA, Sept. 29 (UPI) -- An estimated 164,000 children died worldwide from measles in 2008, down from 733,000 in 2000, U.S. health officials report.

The report, published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, said about 77 percent of the deaths in 2008 occurred in Southeast Asia -- with the majority of those deaths occurring in India.

"Reduction in measles deaths in India is essential to achieve the global goal of 95 percent reduction in measles deaths by 2015 compared to the number of deaths in 2000," the report said. "Providing two doses of measles vaccine to all children is an important step to reduce measles deaths and until recently India was the only country to provide only one dose of measles vaccine. In 2010, the government of India took a significant step forward in reducing measles deaths by initiating introduction of second dose of measles vaccine."

The introduction of a second dose of measles vaccine is being implemented in phases across Indian states and significant progress in reducing measles deaths in India could be expected in the future if the union and state governments of India completely implement strategies to reduce measles deaths, officials said.

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