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Measles outbreak worsens plight of Yemeni civilians

A surge in suspected cases of measles among children in Yemen is adding to the plight of civilians in the war-torn nation.

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It remains a significant cause of death among young children globally, despite the availability of a safe and effective vaccine.

As of July, Yemen reported more than 34,000 suspected cases of measles and rubella, resulting in 413 deaths, up from 27,000 cases and 220 associated deaths last year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The situation is made worse by the large number of children who simply cannot be reached to receive inoculations.

UN estimates suggest that 27% of children under one have either not received measles and rubella vaccines or not completed the required doses for full protection.

In an effort to stem the outbreak, the Yemeni government launched a vaccination campaign in 13 provinces on Sept. 23, in cooperation with the WHO, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization.

The campaign aims to vaccinate more than 1,267,000 children six months to five years old.


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