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Measles death rate drops; still a major public health concern

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In 2007 the World Health Organization set a goal to reduce measles deaths by 90% worldwide between 2000 and 2010.

Death rates did fall 74% during that time, according to a new report in the British medical journal The Lancet. But the highly infectious disease is still a major public health concern across the globe, with almost 200,000 new cases reported each year.

"A three-quarters drop in measles deaths worldwide shows just how effective well-run vaccination programs can be," said Dr. Margaret Chan, director-general for the World Health Organization. "Now we need to take the next logical step and vaccinate children against rubella too."

On Monday, WHO and its partners - the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), UNICEF, United Nations Foundation and the American Red Cross - announced a new plan to stamp out measles and rubella around the world.

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