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Get Immunized This Measles Immunization Day
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Get Immunized This Measles Immunization Day

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Highlights:
  • Measles Immunization Day is observed on March 16th every year to create awareness about the disease
  • Caused by a virus from the paramyxovirus family, measles is a highly contagious viral disease
  • Measles is one of the leading causes of death and disability in children

The Measles Immunization Day observed on the 16th of March every year helps create awareness about measles and ways to fight it.

Measles also referred to as morbilli or rubeola or red measles is a highly infective viral disease which mainly affects children and spreads very easily. A WHO report from 2018 highlights that there has been an increase in the number of measles cases reported in the U.S, the Eastern Mediterranean region, and Europe.

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Very recently in February 2019, almost 70 people, mostly children below 4 years, were found dead because of measles. India has been identified as one of the nations with the highest measles incidence rate per million with 66794 cases reported between 2017 and 2018, according to WHO. Gaps in vaccination coverage and hesitancy in getting children vaccinated seem to major hurdles in tackling the deadly disease.

Measles Immunization in India

Immunization is considered one of the most successful and cost-effective health interventions that could potentially save millions of lives around the world. A mass measles vaccination campaign in India between 2010 and 2013 saved the lives of thousands of children.
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The Indian Government started the Measles-Rubella (MR) Campaign which targets children and adolescents up to the age of 15 years, aiming to control rubella and eliminate measles by 2020. The measles vaccine in India is given in two doses, once at 9-12 months of age and again at 16-24 months of age.

MMR Vaccine - Who needs it?

Measles-Mumps-Rubella vaccine (MMR vaccine) has to be administered to children up to 6 years in 2 doses, to those adults who do not have immunity, international travelers and healthcare professional who show no trace of immunity.

It is recommended that children up to the age of 12 years be given the MMRV vaccine which also controls varicella (chickenpox). Two doses of the MMR vaccine have been found to be 97 percent effective against measles, 88 percent against mumps and even one dose is 97 percent effective against rubella.

The vaccine is not recommended for pregnant women, people with severe allergies and those with weak immune systems.

World Immunization Week 2019

The WHO celebrates the World Immunization Week every year in the last week of April. It aims to promote the use of vaccines to protect people from deadly diseases like measles. Despite the success of various immunizations campaigns around the world, nearly 20 million children remain unvaccinated. Various stakeholders like the parents, community members, healthcare workers and medical professional are responsible for the success of campaigns.

Immunization is fundamental in achieving positive health outcomes and the campaigns have to be particularly intensive in the poor, marginalized and conflict-affected parts of the world.

References :
  1. Measles Immunization Day - (https://www.nhp.gov.in/Measles-Immunization-Day_pg)
  2. World Immunization Week 2019 - (https://www.who.int/news-room/events/detail/2019/04/24/default-calendar/world-immunization-week-2019)
  3. Measles - (https://www.who.int/immunization/diseases/measles/en/)


Source: Medindia

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