The health ministry has urged all cities and provinces nationwide to strengthen prevention measures against measles, particularly vaccinations for children between 9 and 24 months old.

In an official letter, dated April 5, 2014, to the people’s committees of provinces and centrally-run cities, the ministry asked the local authorities to allocate sufficient resources and personnel to this work, as the number of measles cases is increasing with many fatalities recorded among child patients.

Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long said more than 5,000 cases of measles have been reported in the country since the beginning of this year. A majority of patients are children under 10 years old who have not received full vaccination against this disease.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), measles is one of the leading causes of death among young children. The disease, which is caused by a virus in the paramyxovirus family, causes about 330 deaths every day and 14 deaths every hour.

Measles vaccinations resulted in a 78 percent drop in deaths between 2000 and 2012 worldwide, the organisation pointed out.-VNA