WASHINGTON (AP) -- With Ebola finally waning, researchers say hard-hit West Africa faces another threat: The possibility of large outbreaks of measles and other vaccine-preventable illnesses.

Measles Outbreak
A flyer about measles is displayed on a bulletin board at a pediatrics clinic in Greenbrae, Calif. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

Ebola derailed child immunizations in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. Research published Thursday says that means hundreds of thousands more children are vulnerable to infections like measles than before the most recent Ebola epidemic. The researchers estimated that thousands could die if a large enough measles outbreak were to strike the devastated region before its health system is ready to handle more strain.

The study is based on math models, with no way to really predict the risk of a post-Ebola outbreak. Still, clusters of measles cases have been reported recently in the three countries, and health groups are planning mass vaccination campaigns this spring.


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