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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Children suffer as Pakistan battles measles epidemic

Via Times of Oman, excerpt :

" In the intensive-care ward of Lahore's Mayo hospital, pale, spotty children cry in the intense heat of the Pakistani summer -- victims of a devastating measles outbreak.

Punjab, Pakistan's most populous province of which Lahore is the capital, has borne the brunt of the epidemic. It has 18,000 of the 25,000 cases reported around the country by provincial health authorities and more than 150 -- all children -- of the 495 deaths.

The province is the country's richest and most developed, but health experts say ineffective vaccination programmes and poor monitoring of the disease have led to the contagious disease running rampant.

"Initially people were unaware about this epidemic, so they tried to treat the disease at home and using local street doctors," doctor Iftikhar Mirza, a spokesman for Mayo, Lahore's main public hospital, told AFP. "They were even unaware about the vaccination. So, when they came to us, the children were in a critical condition and many had already died."

Asad Abbas, a labourer, tried to treat the disease, spread by droplets from the nose or mouth of infected people, with traditional methods and sought proper medical treatment only just in time."

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