Measles now an imminent global threat as millions of children miss vaccine: WHO


Measles has become one of the biggest threats globally, according to the latest statement by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. public health agency.

The WHO in its latest statement said, “There is now an imminent threat of measles spreading to different regions around the world,” as Covid-19 led to a steady decline in vaccination coverage and weakened surveillance of the disease.

The WHO said nearly 40 million children missed vaccine doses last year for measles. Whereas in July, the UN said 25 million children have missed out on routine immunizations against diseases, including diphtheria, largely because the coronavirus disrupted routine health services or triggered vaccine misinformation.

Measles is one of the most contagious human viruses and is almost entirely preventable through vaccination. However, it requires 95% vaccination coverage to prevent community outbreaks.

In 2021, officials said there were about nine million measles infections and 128,000 deaths worldwide.

The WHO and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said continued drops in vaccination, weak disease surveillance and delayed response plans due to Covid-19, and ongoing outbreaks in more than 20 countries, mean that “measles is an imminent threat in every region of the world.”

MEASLES SYMPTOMS:

Measles can be dangerous, especially for babies and young children. Measles typically begins with a high fever, cough, runny nose (coryza), and red, watery eyes.

Tiny white spots (Koplik spots) may appear inside the mouth two to three days after symptoms begin, according to US CDC. Three to five days after symptoms begin, a rash breaks out. It usually begins as flat red spots that appear on the face at the hairline and spread downward to the neck, trunk, arms, legs, and feet. Small raised bumps may also appear on top of the flat red spots.

MEASLES RISE IN INDIA:

Increased numbers of measles cases have been reported in various districts in Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Kerala, and Maharashtra.

The Centre has asked states to consider administering one additional dose of Measles and Rubella vaccines to all children, aged 9 months to 5 years in vulnerable areas.

In Mumbai, as many as 233 cases of measles have been reported this year. On Wednesday, the financial capital of India registered 13 new cases of measles and one death, while 30 new measles patients were admitted to civic or state-run hospitals in the city during the day.

An eight-month-old boy from neighbouring Bhiwandi, suffering from measles, died in a city hospital on Tuesday evening, taking the toll in the city this year so far to 12. The child developed rashes all over his body on November 20 and was admitted to a BMC hospital on Tuesday evening but died within a few hours.

Presently, measles patients are admitted at eight city hospitals: 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.

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