Measles is a major childhood problem which causes significant illness, death and disability. It infects approximately 40 million people resulting in nearly 1 million deaths annually in developing countries. Measles virus accounts for 44% of total deaths among children that are less than 15 years of age. Highest mortality occurs among children living in poor communities especially in areas that are overcrowded, and where there is malnutrition and vaccination coverage is low. Most of the measles infections in the world are recorded in developing countries of Africa and Asia. Endemic areas are largely confined to the tropics, where transmission increases after rainy season. Inability to effectively immunize most children in this area has hampered global measles mortality reduction initiatives and reduction of under-five child mortality. Although, this was initially scheduled to have been met by 2015, recent WHO resolution called for measles elimination in the African Region by 2020. It is not certain that this will be met; hence the need for coordinated and strategic mass vaccination efforts to target unimmunized children in these regions.
Part of the book: Viruses and Viral Infections in Developing Countries