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India reported 18,668 cases of measles in 2012

Press Trust of India  |  Geneva 

India reported 18,668 cases of measles in 2012, recording the second highest number in sub-Saharan Africa and the South East Asian region, according to WHO statistics.

Democratic Republic of Congo topped the list with 72,029 measles cases in 2012.

"Though overall measles vaccination rates are low in India, some states, especially in the south, have reached high levels of measles vaccination coverage, balanced by large northern states where measles vaccination coverage is low," said the World Health Organisation (WHO).

"The size of the country and the fact that immunisation is not reaching all children," said WHO spokesperson Fadela Chaib referring to factors spiking up Indias measles statistics.

India reported 18,668 cases of measles in 2012, the statistics reported.

The recent outbreak in the US has brought measles back to public debate where an anti-vaccine movement is gaining traction.

WHO and other some scientific communities have blamed the anti-vaccine movement for the spiralling of measles cases in the US and EU.

The US had 644 cases last year, the highest in two decades, as part of 20 separate outbreaks. Efforts to vaccinate children is meeting with resistance in some parts of Europe and the US, said Chaib.

Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US calls measles the "most deadly of all childhood rash or fever illnesses."

Globally 20 million people contract measles each year. In 2013, there were 1,45,700 measles deaths globally - about 400 deaths every day or 16 deaths every hour.

According to WHO, during 2000-2013, measles vaccination prevented an estimated 15.6 million deaths marking a 75 per cent drop in measles death.

First Published: Tue, February 03 2015. 21:35 IST