"While the number of measles deaths around the world has significantly decreased over the past decade, large outbreaks in certain regions are jeopardizing progress, the United Nations health agency said [Thursday], adding that improved vaccination rates are critical to eliminate the disease," the U.N. News Centre reports. "Between 2000 and 2011, measles deaths dropped from 542,000 to 158,000 globally, representing a 71 percent decrease," the news service writes, adding, "New cases also dropped during the same period by 58 percent, according to new data" from the WHO (1/17).
"The highly contagious disease is a leading cause of death among young children around the world, especially the poor, malnourished and unvaccinated, it said," Reuters notes (Nebehay, 1/17). "Despite this global progress, some populations remain unprotected," according to a WHO press release, which adds, "An estimated 20 million children worldwide did not receive the first dose of vaccine in 2011" (1/17). "More than half live in five countries: Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, India, Nigeria and Pakistan," Reuters notes (1/17).
This article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.