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Measles Deaths Down 30 Percent Worldwide

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GENEVA, Switzerland, Apr 27, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Deaths from measles worldwide have been reduced by 30 percent; the World Health Organization said in Geneva, Switzerland, Tuesday.

The reduction in measles deaths was greater in Africa -- 35 percent -- the region impacted the most by measles.

During 1999, some 869,000 people, mostly children, died from measles, but by 2002, measles killed an estimated 610,000 people, a decline of 30 percent.

The reduction in such deaths indicates countries could achieve the U.N. goal of cutting global measles deaths in half by the end of 2005, according to WHO.

However, despite the availability of a vaccine for more than 40 years, measles remains the leading vaccine-preventable killer of children.

During Vaccination Week in the Americas, April 24-30, millions of people will be immunized against several vaccine-preventable diseases, including measles, WHO said in a statement.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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