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Child Measles Deaths Surge In Pakistan

A Russian researcher examines a sample of measles at a state research center in Koltsovo. (file photo)
The World Health Organization (WHO) says that measles cases surged in Pakistan in 2012, with 306 children dying of the disease last year.

A spokeswoman for the WHO, Maryam Yunus, said in Karachi on January 1 that the hundreds died in 2012 compared to a death toll of just 64 in 2011.

WHO officials did not give a reason for the increase in deaths, but a health official in Sindh province said that the disease hit areas where poor families did not vaccinate their children.

Some Pakistanis, especially in rural areas, view vaccination campaigns with suspicion as a Western plot to sterilize Muslims or impose un-Islamic practices on them.

In December, nine health officials working to immunize Pakistanis against polio were killed by militants opposed to that campaign, sparking public anger.

More recently, six female aid workers and a male doctor were shot dead in an attack in western Pakistan this week.

Based on reporting by AP and ABC News