November 2, 2017 — Vaccine programs have dramatically reduced the number of deaths from measles worldwide since 2000, according to a new study.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that 90,000 people died from measles worldwide in 2016, which is an 84% decline in measles deaths since 2000 when 550,000 people died of measles.
This shows that vaccine programs, especially in developing countries, are having a big impact. This is the first time the yearly death toll from measles has dropped below 100,000 since records began.
According to Dr. Robert Linkins of the Measles and Rubella Initiative:
“Saving an average of 1.3 million lives per year through measles vaccine is an incredible achievement and makes a world free of measles seem possible, even probable in our lifetime.”
Measles is a highly-contagious virus that spreads through mucus and saliva.
Around 5.5 billion doses of measles-containing vaccines have been given to children since 2000, saving approximately 20.4 million lives.
Despite the gains, the WHO says the world is still far from eradicating measles. Last year, over 20.8 million children missed their first dose of the measles vaccine.