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More than 140,000 people, mostly young children, died of measles last year - WHO

It's outrageous how many children are dying from measles, the World Health Organization's director general says.

Source: 1 NEWS

According to new data released by WHO and the US Centers for Disease Control today, more than 142,000 people died of the preventable disease last year.

Most of those dying are children under five years old, WHO director general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says.

"The fact that any child dies from a vaccine-preventable disease like measles is frankly an outrage and a collective failure to protect the world's most vulnerable children."

There were nearly 10 million cases last year amid a worldwide surge of deadly measles outbreaks.

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The death toll has risen to 63 today, December 6. Source: 1 NEWS

But this year, there have been three times as many cases reported than at the same point in 2018.

"To save lives, we must ensure everyone can benefit from vaccines, which means investing in immunisation and quality healthcare as a right for all," Dr Adhanom Ghebreyesus says.

The data release comes as Samoa battles a fatal measles epidemic which has swept through the island nation.

So far, 63 people have died, most of them children under four years old, and 4357 have been diagnosed with the disease.

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1 NEWS’ Pacific Correspondent spoke with Afamasaga Lepuiai Rico Tupai on the morning of December 6. Source: Breakfast

In New Zealand, children usually receive their first measles vaccination at 15 months old, followed by a second at four years old.

An outbreak in Auckland has prompted DHBs to bring the schedule forward in some cases; babies heading to an area with a serious outbreak, either in Auckland or overseas, can get their first dose from six months old before receiving their usual scheduled ones.