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Global measles deaths fall but disease still not eradicated

An analysis of measles outbreaks published in the Lancet said that deaths from the illness had decreased by 74 percent between 2000 and 2010, short of the 90 percent target agreed upon by UN members.

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Vaccinator gives a measles shot to a baby at a mobile health clinic in the mountain village of Raquol, in Panjab district, Afghanistan. (Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)

Measles deaths have fallen sharply in most of the world since 2000 but countries fell short of targets due to outbreaks in India and Africa.

According to the AFP, member states of the World Health Organization (WHO) agreed to a target of reducing measles mortality by 90 percent by 2010 compared with year 2000 rates.

In 2000, over half a million people died around the world from measles, compared with about 140,000 in 2010 said a new study of measles mortality rates in the Lancet.

"This is still a huge success," said Peter Strebel, a study author and measles expert at WHO, reported the Associated Press.

"You don't reduce measles deaths by three quarters without significantly accelerating efforts."

The results are impressive but the Los Angeles Times reported that Africa and India still showed high rates of the illness.

India accounted for nearly half of measles deaths in the world, while Africa accounted for 36 percent.

The Associated Press reported that the study showed that about 9.6 million children were spared from the illness between 2000 to 2010 after major vaccination campaigns in many parts of the world.

The next global target is to decrease the mortality rate from 2000 rates by 95 percent by the year 2015, reported the BBC.

It is estimated that a modest $112 million over a number of years will be needed to achieve this goal.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/health/120424/global-measles-deaths-fall-diseases-still-not-eradicated