Global measles deaths hit record low: WHO

Geneva, Feb 7: The global annual measles mortality reached historic low with vaccination expanding steadily, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said in a statement Thursday.

Statistics estimated that the annual measles deaths dropped 78 percent to 122,000 in 2012, comparing to the contagious disease claimed 562,000 lives in 2000 globally, Xinhua reported.

“We reached record low levels of measles cases with 77 percent decline from 2000 to 2012,” Robert Perry, WHO medical officer, told a press conference.

He added these gains are a result of “increasing vaccine coverage”. Since 2000, the expanding vaccine coverage benefited more than one billion children worldwide.

In 2012, the global routine measles immunisation coverage rose to 84 percent, and as many as 145 million children were vaccinated against measles.

Despite the impressive progress towards measles elimination, WHO still warned that measles continued to be a global threat. “We made some progress against those goals, we still have ways to go,” said Perry.

In 2012, Africa, southeast Asia, Europe, eastern Mediterranean, and western Pacific region witnessed the large measles outbreaks. Over 10,000 reported cases occurred in the Democratic Republic of Congo, India, Indonesia, Ukraine and Somalia.

IANS