This is the VOA Special English Health Report.
Measles is one of the most infectious viruses known. It spreads through the
air when people infected with the disease cough or sneeze. Children in wealthier
countries are usually vaccinated to protect against measles.
international campaign called the Measles Initiative was launched in 2001
to vaccinate children in developing countries. The aim was a fifty percent
reduction in deaths related to measles by 2005.
Last week, organizers of the Measles Initiative announced that the final
numbers showed a 60 percent drop in deaths.
In 1999, the year used for comparison, there were 873,000 deaths. Six
years later that number had dropped to 345,000.
The organizers say more than two million lives have been saved, mostly in
Africa. Health officials report a 45 percent drop in deaths in Africa
connected to measles.
Measles itself is usually not a direct cause of death. Deaths are commonly
the result of infections like pneumonia or severe diarrhea. Those who survive
can suffer brain damage, blindness or other disabilities.
The first sign of infection is usually a high body temperature for as long as
a week. Patients may develop a runny
nose, cough, red and watery eyes and white spots inside the
mouth. After several days, a skin rash develops, first usually on the face and
A case of measles can be just a mild and unpleasant part of childhood. But
severe cases are more likely in children with poor diets or weakened defenses
from conditions like HIV/AIDS.
Children under the age of five and adults over the age of twenty are more
likely to suffer severe cases. People who recover from measles can never get it
The Measles Initiative includes the American Red Cross, the World Health
Organization and UNICEF, the United Nations Children's Fund.
The campaign has cost almost 400 million dollars. Officials say
about 500 million more will be needed to meet a new goal by 2010. The goal
now is to reduce measles deaths worldwide to less than 10 percent of the
rate in the year 2000.
The campaign will now center its efforts in Asian countries, especially
India. Each year, about 100,000 Indian children die as a result of measles.
And that's the VOA Special English Health Report, written by Caty Weaver. I'm
runny nose : 流鼻涕