India registers a total of 10,416 laboratory-confirmed cases and 40 deaths due to measles among kids up till December 12 this year. However, the report differs from the reports of the US-based Centre for Disease Control Prevention based on the WHO data.
The US agency’s website shows that India with 11,000 cases tops the list of countries with global measles outbreaks from May-October 2022. CDC clarified that WHO classifies all suspected measles cases reported from India as measles clinically compatible if a specimen was not collected as per the algorithm for classification of suspected measles in the WHO VPD SurvellienceStandards. These numbers might vary between what WHO reports and what India reports.
Measles, a contagious virus, is almost preventable through vaccination.Covid-19 is a suspected cause of the increased number of measles cases. Due to the pandemic, 61 million doses of measles-containing vaccine were postponed or missed due to Covid-19-related delays in supplementary immunization activities.
State-wide immunization against rising death cases
On December 10th, Mumbai reported a total of 925 confirmed cases and 17 deaths. Officials believe that during the Covid-19 pandemic, national routine MRCV1 coverage decreased from a peak of 95% in 2019 to 89% in 2021, and CV2 coverage decreased from a peak of 84% (2019) to 82% (2021).
As of Friday, Maharashtra tops the list with 3075 cases and 13 deaths, followed by Jharkhand with 2683 cases and eight deaths. Minister of State for Health Bharati Pravin Pawar in the Lok Sabha mentioned that an upsurge has been reported during November 2022, highlighting that central teams are providing technical support to the measles hotspots States like Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Gujarat, and Kerala.
A special state-wide measles immunization drive to cover all unvaccinated children War started on Thursday. Last month a measles epidemic in Mumbai was declared by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation BMC. The corporation has been focusing on increasing the vaccine coverage and the outbreak areas even as new areas kept added to the list each day.
Dr. Subhash Salunkhe who is the head of the state measles task force said that efforts should be made to reach all children who have missed the vaccines. This also includes kids up to the age of 15 years, children whose parents have no record of their immunization status or don’t know anything about it, all need to be considered unvaccinated as there is no problem even if a child ends up getting an extra dose or two of the vaccine but remaining without the immunization is a problem.
Involvement of CDC
Measles is understood to be an extremely contagious disease. Around 9 by 10 people who are not protected will become infected following exposure to the measles virus. Measles is declared an outbreak when the number of cases reported in an area is higher than the expected number of cases. CDC is currently very careful with containing the situation due o its experience in 2021 when measles claimed nearly 130,000 lives, mostly children.
The disease carries serious consequences for children under 5 years of age, they are the most at risk fr serious complications including pneumonia, encephalitis (brain swelling), and death. Because the disease can drastically reduce a child’s immune system, there is an increased risk of diseases like pneumonia, diarrheal diseases, and meningitis. Therefore, it is necessary to contain the spread on priority.