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Measles claims lives of more than 300 children

02 January, 2013

KARACHI: More than 300 children died of measles last year as a result of three consecutive years of flooding, officials said on Tuesday. The United Nations' World Health Organisation (WHO) stated, 306 children died of the highly infectious disease last year, 210 of them in Sindh, where the worst floods occurred in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

"Most of the affected children died due to post-measles complications such as pneumonia, post-measles encephalitis and diarrhoea," said WHO spokeswoman Maryam Yunus. The WHO added that most of the cases occurred between October and December in Sindh. Maryam noted, "Most of the children who have died because of suspected measles are reported from the districts affected by the floods for the last three years.".

She also said that the WHO investigations had shown that malnourishment was a major reason for such a high number of deaths. "Floods, displacements and food shortages have played a major role in these deaths," she added.

A Health Ministry official said, 50 children died in December. The official, who did not wish to be named, added that the number of deaths in 2012 was "a record high".

Pakistan started a new measles vaccination on Monday, officials said.

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