Vitamin A deficiency

14 million pre-school children have some eye damage due to VAD;
350 000 (or more) pre-school children become partially or totally blind every year from VAD;
About 60% of these children die within a few months of going blind;
VAD is associated with an increase in the severity of infections, particularly measles and diarrheal disease;
Through synergism with measles infection, VAD contributes to the estimated 1.1 million childhood deaths from measles every year;
Half of all childhood corneal blindness in developing countries is caused by vitamin A deficiency, and half of that is from added measles infection.

Improving the vitamin A status of deficient children and treating cases of measles with vitamin A can reduce childhood morbidity and mortality substantially. Taking into account the results of eight randomized controlled community supplementation trials, one report concluded that improving the vitamin A status of young children reduced mortality rates by about 23%. Studies from Ghana and Brazil have also indicated that vitamin A supplementation was associated with a decrease in disease severity. In three studies of children hospitalized with measles, vitamin A supplementation reduced the death rate by about 60%.

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