Faq On Measles Outbreak — Vaccinations, Advisories And Areas Affected

Not just Mumbai, certain districts of Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Kerala and Maharashtra saw an increase in the number of measles cases. Here’s what the health ministry has advised the states and public over the measles vaccinations.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) appealed to the residents of Mumbai to get their children vaccinated against measles amid an outbreak that has affected over 200 people so far this year. As per the data released by the civic body, Mumbai recorded as many as 233 confirmed cases of measles and eight deaths due to the disease. Three deaths were reported outside Mumbai and one death was suspected to be from measles, taking this year’s toll to 12, the BMC said in its report on Wednesday.

Amid the rising number of measles cases, the Centre wrote to states and Union territories backing the claims about low measles vaccination coverage. It said, “the average coverage of Measles and Rubella Containing Vaccine (MRCV) among the eligible beneficiaries is also significantly below the national average.” Emphasising the need for vaccination, it directed the states to follow some guidelines which is discussed below.

First, let’s take a look at the situation across the country regarding the measles outbreak:

Are there any suspected measles cases?

Moreover, the number of suspected measles cases detected so far this year rose to 3,534 with 156 new suspected cases with synonyms like fever and rash coming to light, the release said. The viral disease is more common among children.

“All cases of fever with rash are administered two doses of Vitamin-A,” the BMC release said. It added that the second dose is given after 24 hours.

Where are the measles cases being reported?

The measles outbreak had been reported in 22 locations in 11 of the 24 civic wards in Mumbai. But the 13 new confirmed cases were from seven different wards, including A ward in South Mumbai, the BMC said.

Besides Mumbai, certain districts of Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Kerala and Maharashtra saw an increase in the number of measles cases. Keeping this in view, the Centre decided to send there three high-level multi-disciplinary teams to Ranchi (Jharkhand), Ahmedabad (Gujarat) and Malappuram (Kerala) to take stock of the upsurge in cases of measles.


Measles should not be considered just a little rash. It starts showing first symptoms 7-14 days after a measles infection is contracted.

Initial symptoms include high fever, bloodshot eyes, a runny nose, and tiny white spots on the inside of the mouth. A rash develops several days later, starting on the face and upper neck and gradually spreading downwards.

Poorly nourished young children are more at risk of contracting measles, especially those with insufficient vitamin A or weak immune systems.

Revised vaccination guidelines and advisory for parents

The Centre asked states to consider administering an additional dose of measles and rubella vaccines to all children aged nine months to five years, in vulnerable areas. “This dose would be in addition to the primary vaccination schedule of the first dose at nine-12 months and the second dose at 16-24 months,” Health Ministry Joint Secretary P Ashok Babu was quoted by PTI as saying.

Babu also said that a dose of MRCV is to be administered to all children aged six months and up to less than nine months in those areas where measles cases in the age group of less than nine months are above 10 percent of the total cases.

“Since this dose of MRCV is being given to this cohort in “Outbreak Response Immunisation” (ORI) mode, these children should also be covered by the first and second dose of MRCV according to the primary (routine) Measles and Rubella vaccination schedule,” he said.

In its release, the BMS has also urged the Mumbaikars to vaccinate their children between nine months to 5 years of age. Meanwhile, Dr Naveen Thacker, president-elect of the International Pediatrics Association, was quoted by the Times of India as saying that measles requires 90-95 percent vaccine coverage to prevent an outbreak.

Preparedness against measles outbreak

> A total of 370 beds, including oxygen and ICU beds, have been earmarked for measles patients in some Mumbai hospitals. These include: Kasturba Hospital, Shivaji Nagar Maternity Home, Bharatratna Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Hospital, Rajawadi Hospital, Shatabdi Hospital, Kurla Bhabha Hospital, Krantijyoti Savitribai Phule hospital, Borivali, and Seven Hills Hospital. Of 370 beds, 113 beds are occupied, according to the BMC.

> The Centre also asked Maharashtra to earmark wards and beds for effective caseload management of measles in dedicated health facilities for timely transfer and treatment of such children.

> The health ministry said immediate isolation of laboratory-confirmed cases must be done for at least seven days from the date of identification.

> The vulnerable areas are to be identified by the state government and UT administration in “Outbreak Response Immunisation” (ORI) mode. The health ministry said an active fever and rash surveillance mechanism needs to be strengthened for early case identification.

“Head count survey of all children aged six months to five years must be undertaken in the vulnerable outbreak areas to facilitate full MRCV coverage in an accelerated manner. The institutionalised mechanism of District Task Force on immunisation under the leadership of the district collector must be activated to review the measles situation on a daily and weekly basis and plan the response activities accordingly,” he said.

House-to-house search activities to identify such vulnerable children and provide pre-emptive care with nutritional and Vitamin A supplementation is also necessary.

(With inputs from PTI)


First Published: IST

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