Global measles deaths drop by 78% but resurgence likely
Between 2000 and 2008, measles deaths worldwide fell by 78% from an estimated 733 000 to 164 000. In addition, all regions with the exception of one, have achieved the United Nations goal of reducing measles mortality by 90% from 2000 to 2010, two years ahead of target. However, global immunization experts warn of a resurgence in measles deaths if vaccination efforts are not sustained. Experts fear the combined effect of decreased political and financial commitment could result in an estimated 1.7 million measles-related deaths between 2010-13, with more than half a million deaths in 2013 alone.
“So much has been achieved in the past several years thanks to the hard work and commitment of national governments and donors. But with only two years until the target date, there are signs of stalling momentum,” said Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General. "This is a highly contagious disease that can quickly take advantage of any lapse in effort."