One of the biggest fallouts of the pandemic globally has been the low routine immunisation coverage of children. Asper WHO data ,nearly 40 million children globally had missed a measles vaccine dose last year. As a result, there were an estimated nine million measles cases and 1,28,000 deaths in 2021.
GS II: Health
Dimensions of the Article:
- What is measles?
- What are the symptoms?
- How important is it to take measles vaccines?
What is measles?
- Measles or as it is called ‘khasra’, is a highly contagious viral disease which affects mostly children.
- It is one of the leading causes of death and disability among young children.
- There is no specific treatment for measles but there is a vaccine to stay protected from the disease, which is both safe as well as cost effective.
- Death due to measles are caused by the complications associated with the disease like blindness, encephalitis, severe diarrhoea and pneumonia.
- Measles spreads by coughing and sneezing, close personal contact or direct contact with infected nasal or throat secretions.
- As per reports, an infected child with measles can spread the virus to others for about eight days, starting four days before the rash appears and ending when the rash has been present for four days.
What are the symptoms?
- Symptoms appear around 10 to 14 days after exposure to the virus.
- The main symptoms are fever, dry cough, running nose, sore throat and rash.
- The rashes look like small red spots which remain slightly raised and give the skin a splotchy red appearance.
- The face of the rash breaks out first. Within days, it spreads to the rest of the body.
How important is it to take measles vaccines?
- Young children, who don’t receive measles immunization, are at highest risks of being exposed to measles and its complications, including death.
- The WHO recommends immunization for all children with two doses of measles vaccine, either alone, or in a measles-rubella (MR) or measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) combination.
- As per the guidance of National Health Mission, in India, measles vaccination is given under the Universal Immunisation Programme at 9-12 months of age and the second dose at 16-24 months of age.
-Source: The Hindu