Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Measles - still a major killer

A global campaign has cut the number of deaths from measles dramatically, but they are still way above target, and every day, there are nearly 400 deaths from the illness.  

Back in 2000, 535,000 died every year.    By 2010, that total had fallen to 139,000 – a reduction of 74%, but the target had been to achieve a 90% drop.   Unicef says every death could have been prevented by vaccination. 

The campaign had been progressing well until 2007 when a vaccination programme stalled in India, with the authorities (perhaps distracted by the effort to eliminate polio) trying to make do with giving children just one injection to protect them when two were needed.   In addition, there were major outbreaks in southern Africa. 

A new combined vaccine against measles and rubella is being launched, with a new target of a further 95% drop in deaths from the 2000 level by 2015.   
*I was interviewed about the Titanic the other day by BBC Somerset.   It's posted here:- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FoCfD2kzNm8&list=HL1335275415&feature=mh_lolz

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