Measles claims 197 in Malawi

Last updated 12:22 16/08/2010

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A measles outbreak has killed 197 people in Malawi since the start of this year, the highest number recorded in the country in the last decade, a senior health ministry official said.

A total 54 people died during the last outbreak of the viral disease in the southern African country in 2000.

 ``About 77,000 people have been infected and 197, mostly children have died in the last seven months,'' Dr Storn Kabuluzi, director of preventive health services at the department of health, told Reuters.

Measles is an infectious disease characterised by a high temperature and red spots all over the body. Large and deadly outbreaks of measles in 30 African countries threaten to reverse gains made against the viral disease in the past two decades, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said in May.

More than 1100 deaths from measles have been reported among 64,000 known cases in Africa the last year, it said. Chad, Nigeria and Zimbabwe have had the largest outbreaks.

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- Reuters

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