LAHORE, Feb 4: Measles cases continue to rise, as 51 more children were shifted to various hospitals of the provincial capital on Monday.

Health officials have confirmed 16 deaths from measles all over the province since Jan 1.

Health Special Secretary Babar Hayat Tarar briefed the media about measles prevalence in Punjab on Monday. He said 2900 cases of measles were reported throughout Punjab from December 2012 to date and 99 per cent of patients recovered. He said measles reporting and medical facilities had been provided at every level from basic health units to teaching hospitals.

Health Director General Dr Nisar Ahmed Cheema, World Health Organization and Unicef representatives Dr Wende and Dr Mushtaq Rana, respectively, were also present.

Tarar said the measles epidemic was not a new thing, as it spread four times in a developed country like America last year. He said the Punjab government took immediate steps to contain the disease after its outbreak in Sindh.

Dr Cheema said children of the area where measles cases were initially reported and the surrounding areas were immediately vaccinated by initiating a campaign there. He said steps were being taken to improve the routine EPI coverage to eradicate measles. He said a meeting of steering committee of paediatricians on measles was attended by Children Hospital Dean Prof Tahir Masood, Prof Agha Shabbir Ali and Prof Tariq Bhutta from the Lahore General Hospital.

He said medical experts were working to save precious lives and treatment was being provided to measles affected children under the guidelines given by the WHO and paediatricians. All necessary medicines had been provided to health centres and separate wards had been set-up for measles patients, Dr Cheema added.

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