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The World in Medicine
January 23, 2008

Measles Deaths Plummet

JAMA. 2008;299(3):279. doi:10.1001/jama.299.3.279-a

Measles mortality in Africa decreased from an estimated 396 000 deaths in 2000 to 36 000 in 2006, a 91% decrease, the Measles Initiative announced on November 29. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the “spectacular” achievement was made possible by a commitment to immunizing children against measles before their first birthday as part of routine health services as well as by mass vaccination campaigns. Worldwide, deaths due to measles declined 68%, from an estimated 757 000 deaths in 2000 to 242 000 in 2006. Global routine vaccination coverage reached an estimated 80% in 2006, up from 72% in 2000, with the largest improvements seen in Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean region.