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Concern Over Recent US Measles Outbreaks

UN-Backed Group Voices Concern Over Recent US Measles Outbreaks

New York, Aug 22 2008 11:10AMA
United Nations-backed group seeking to slash measles deaths has expressed concern over the recent surge in reported cases of the virus in the United States.

Thanks to a successful vaccination programme, measles – which is highly contagious and can result in serious complications and death – was eliminated in the Americas in 2002.

But 131 cases have been reported in the first half of this year, the highest number since 1996.

Most of the recent US cases were imported or resulted from the importation of the virus from other countries, and the possibility of children contracting it is on the rise as international travel continues to soar.

Some 600 children die every day from measles, which infects 18 million children annually, according to the Measles Initiative, comprised of the UN Children’s Fund, UN World Health Organization (WHO), UN Foundation (UNF), the American Red Cross and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We must be steadfast in our efforts to reduce measles globally,” the group said in a statement issued yesterday.

“It is essential that all children – regardless of where they are born – have the opportunity to be vaccinated against measles, so that they can grow up healthier and without fear of this highly contagious, but entirely preventable, disease.”

Ends

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