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Pakistan Health Officials Respond To Measles Outbreak Responsible For At Least 120 Child Deaths

“Health officials in Pakistan have confirmed that at least 120 children have been killed by an outbreak of measles since January,” and “[c]lose to 14,000 cases of measles have occurred since January 15,” IB Times reports (Turner, 5/30). However, BBC News writes, “The epidemic has spread rapidly with thousands of cases nationwide and 239 deaths between January and April 2013, according to Pakistan’s national measles coordinator.” Tanvir Ahmed, director-general of heath services for Punjab province, blamed low vaccination coverage rates, according to the news service. “While doctors here say families need to take more responsibility for ensuring their children are vaccinated, they accept the official vaccination programs have often been badly managed, leading to people missing out,” BBC writes. An emergency measles vaccination campaign has reached 2.6 million children in Lahore, Pakistan, in recent weeks, and another 11 million children are scheduled to be immunized in other parts of Punjab province in June, the news agency notes (Galpin, 5/30).