GENEVA: Nearly a million Pakistani children failed to receive a first dose of the measles vaccine in 2011, according to a statement by the World Health Organisation (WHO). They were struck by a deadly outbreak of the virus that engulfed five countries.
The WHO estimates that 20 million children failed to receive first dose of the vaccine the world over in 2011.
900,000 children in Pakistan were reported to have missed the vaccination, while more than half of the 20 million live in India (6.7 million children), Nigeria (1.7 million), Ethiopia (one million), and the Democratic Republic of Congo (800,000).
In late 2012, at least 306 children were killed by a deadly outbreak of measles, a huge increase from 2011, when 64 were killed by the disease.
The increase was most pronounced in Sindh, where daeths jumped from 28 in 2011 to 210 in 2012. About 50 per cent of those deaths in Sindh took place in December, mainly due to a shortage of vaccines forcing immunisation drives to be halted for a short period.
The UN health agency recommends that all children receive two doses of measles vaccine to be protected from the highly contagious disease. But despite high-profile vaccination campaigns, the vaccine has yet to reach all those in need.
Measles deaths decline globally
The global number of measles deaths dropped by 71 per cent between 2000 and 2011 largely thanks to a boost in vaccination efforts, the WHO said Thursday.
The number of mortalities from measles over that period fell from 542,000 to 158,000, it said in a statement, while the number of new cases fell by 58 per cent to 355,000 in 2011.
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