The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported a global fall in the worldwide death toll from measles. Measeles is a contagious disease and is the fifth leading cause of death for children under the age of five.This has largely been possible due to improved vaccination programs in Latin America and southern Africa. Measles has been virtually wiped out in the industrialized countries but still continues to exist in the developing countries. According to reports from WHO an estimated 777,000 children died from measles in 2000 and this is about 11 percent fewer than in the previous year. Data on deaths beyond 2000 was not available.
The WHO is concentrating its efforts in Africa and Southeast Asia, the two regions hardest hit by measles and hopes to cut the number of annual measles deaths to 437,500 by 2005.Africa has about 10 percent of the world's population and accounted for 58 percent of measles deaths in 2000.
WHO recommends children are given two rounds of measles vaccinations.About 15 percent of children who receive the vaccine for the first time fail to develop immunity.