Measles cases down 60 percent in the last decade

According to U.S. health officials, the number of measles cases reported worldwide each year dropped 60 percent from 2000 to 2010, down from 853,480 cases to 339,845 cases.

Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that worldwide measles incidence went down 66 percent, from 146 cases per million to 50 cases per million. All regions reported decreases in cases and incidences to the World Health Organization, UPI reports.

The biggest decline was from 853,480 in 2000 to 277,968 in 2008. Cases remained stable from 2008 to 2009, with increases in the Eastern Mediterranean Region from 12,120 to 36,605 and the African Region from 37,012 to 83,479 being balanced out by a decrease in the Western Pacific Region from 147,987 to 66,609.

Reported measles cases in 2010 decreased in the Western Pacific Region to 49,460, the Eastern Mediterranean Region to 10,072 and the South-East Asia Region to 50,265, but the decreases were offset by increases in the European Region to 30,625 and the African Region to 199,174, according to UPI.

The findings were published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report by the CDC.

Measles is a viral respiratory disease that typically grows in the cells lining the back of the throat and lungs. It can cause a runny nose, fever, cough and a rash all over the body.