Malawi records 197 measles deaths in 2010

Malawi has seen 197 deaths so far this year as the result of a measles outbreak, which is the highest number of deaths recorded from measles in the last decade, health ministry officials recently announced.

"About 77,000 people have been infected and 197, mostly children have died in the last seven months,' Dr. Storn Kabuluzi, director of preventive health services at the department of health, told Reuters.

In May, the World Health Organization said that large and deadly outbreaks of measles in at least 30 African countries have undermined gains made against the disease over the past two decades.

Malawi's last outbreak of the measles, which occurred in 2000, resulted in 54 deaths. In the last year, more than 1,100 deaths have been reported as a result of measles in Africa. There have been 64,000 known cases in the last year, with Chad, Nigeria and Zimbabwe suffering the largest outbreaks.

The infectious measles disease is characterized by high body temperatures and red spots that appear all over the body.

A recent U.S. News & World Report article reported that babies can become vulnerable to measles as early as two to three months after they are born despite the fact that most babies aren't scheduled to get vaccinated for measles until their first birthday.