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Guangzhou Reports Highest Number of Measles Cases
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South China's booming city of Guangzhou reported 3,650 cases of measles in the first 11 months last year, the highest number of the same period over the past twenty years, the city's health bureau said.

The figure was 88 percent higher than that of the same period in 2005, said the bureau.

The measles patients were mostly preschool children, 69 percent of them under seven, it said, adding the occurrence peak was between April and August last year.

The city will carry out free vaccinations against measles for children aged between eight months and 14 years to control its outbreak, the bureau said.

An acute, contagious viral disease, measles usually occurs in childhood with symptoms of red spots on the skin and fevers. The disease can be life-threatening if patients are not treated in time.
In 2005, China recorded about 130,000 measles cases nationwide.

The incidence rate had decreased by 95 percent since the 1990s thanks to planned immunizations that started in 1978, with the lowest figure in 1995 of about five per 100,000, according to official statistics.

However, since 1995, the incidence of measles has been rising across the country. The year 2005 saw the highest incidence rate of 10 per 100,000 in a decade. Some provinces were still seeing a high prevalence last year.

The Chinese government has set a five-year action plan to eradicate measles.

(Xinhua News Agency January 7, 2007)

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