Record low drop in the number of estimated deaths from measles

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Child being vaccinated

Annual measles deaths have reached historic lows, dropping 77 per cent from the year 2000 to 2012 and preventing a little over 13 million deaths.

The World Health Organization (WHO) made the announcement at the launch of a report on the agency's new mortality estimates regarding the disease.

Measles is a very contagious disease marked by a fever, rash and cold symptoms like red eyes and a runny nose.

The serious decline in measles deaths, explains Dr. Robert Perry, is a result of global and routine immunization coverage.

"These gains are against milestones that have been set by the World Health Assembly to reduce measles cases to below 5 per million and to reduce deaths by 95 per cent from 2000 to 2015 – corresponding to increasing the vaccination coverage to 90 per cent in every country and 80 per cent in every district. We have made some progress against those goals but we still have a ways to go."

WHO has vaccinated around 145 million children in mass vaccination campaigns in 2012.

But despite these gains, says Dr. Perry, measles continues to be a threat in the African, Eastern Mediterranean and European regions.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 1’32”

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