Measles killing children in Pakistan

A Pakistani mother attends to her child suffering from measles, at a local hospital in Sukkar, Pakistan, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013.

An ongoing measles epidemic in Pakistan has been claiming the lives of children in the country as more than 70 new patients are being hospitalized daily, health officials say.

Thousands of children have been suffering from their worst outbreak of measles in living memory while at least 240 children have died between January to April this year.

A doctor of the Lahore Children’s Hospital said “I have been working now for more than two decades and I’ve not seen a measles epidemic of this severity.”

The latest figures from the World Health Organization (WHO) show the number of measles cases in Pakistan has increased from 4,000 in 2011 to 14,000 in 2012.

Health officials say lack of vaccines accounts for much of the epidemicâ„¢s intensity.

According to BBC, over the past few weeks 2.6 million children have received vaccines in Pakistan, and in June another 11 million are due to arrive.

While measles itself is rarely fatal, it can lead to life-threatening complications such as meningitis and pneumonia, particularly in children with low immunity.

“Some of them are arriving very late at the hospital,” the doctor said.

“After developing complications at home, their parents don’t take them to doctors, they don’t get any treatment and so when they come here…. there is not much we can do.

“Some are in the final stage of life or already dead with meningitis or pneumonia,” he goes on.

According to the WHO 306 Pakistani children died of measles last year, most of them in the flood-stricken areas. The UN body had said, 210 of cases had occurred in the southern province of Sindh affected by worst floods during the past 3 years.

MSH/HN

This article originally appeared on: Press TV