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Measles Immunization Day 2017: Get Immunized
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Measles Immunization Day 2017: Get Immunized

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Highlights
  • Measles is a contagious viral disease that causes disability and death among children.
  • The Measles Immunization Day is observed on the March 16th every year to create awareness on measles.
  • Immunization with two doses of MMR vaccine (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) can help to prevent measles vaccine.

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease that affects children. The Measles Immunization Day is observed on the 16th of March every year to bring awareness about the deadly disease and how to deal with it.

Children who do not receive measles vaccine are at a high risk for the deadly disease. Measles is found to be one of the leading causes of death and disability among young children, for which effective and appropriate treatment is still not available.

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The World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended immunization for children with 2 doses of measles vaccine. This can be given either alone or along with measles- rubella (MR) or as measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine.

In India, the first dose of measles vaccine is given at 9-12 months of age and the second dose is given at 16-24 months of age.

Measles
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Measles is caused by a contagious virus that belongs to the paramyxovirus family. The virus usually spreads through direct contact (when the infected person sneezes or coughs) and through air. Measles virus can cause infections in the respiratory tract that spreads throughout the body.

Symptoms of measles include high fever that may begin after 10-12 days of exposure to the virus. It may also result in cold, redness of the eyes and rash.

Complications of Measles

Most of the deaths that occur due to measles are because of its dangerous complications. This usually occurs either in children below the age of 5 or adults at the age of 20.

Some of the serious complications include:
  • Blindness
  • Encephalitis (brain inflammation)
  • Diarrhea
  • Ear infections
  • Respiratory infections such as pneumonia
During pregnancy, measles may also increase the risk of miscarriage.

Measles Immunization

Around 90% of the population will have had measles by the age of 20 if they are not vaccinated.

According to the WHO, accelerated immunization activities for measles has had a huge impact in preventing deaths due to measles.

It is estimated that around 20.3 million deaths are prevented due to measles vaccination during 2000-2015.

Measles has no cure and immunization is the best way to prevent the infection. MMR vaccine is an attenuated live viral vaccine that is administered subcutaneously.

It is used as a primary vaccine for children and adults to protect against measles, mumps and rubella.

Around 90-95% of people who had taken one dose of MMR are found to be protected from measles.

Two doses of MMR vaccine are found to be 97% effective in preventing measles, and one dose is found to be 93% effective, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

However, some people are restricted from using Measles vaccine:
  • Pregnant women are not recommended to have the MMR vaccine as it might harm the baby.
  • People with a weakened immune system
  • People with life -threatening allergic reactions
Side Effects of Measles Vaccine

Measles vaccine is found to have few side effects which include:
  • Around one in a million people may have encephalitis (brain inflammation)
  • Less than 2% have a vaccine-associated rash
There may also be few cases of seizures and anaphylaxis.

Preventing Measles

Getting immunization with MMR vaccine is the only way to prevent measles.

References
  1. Measles Immunization Day - (https://www.nhp.gov.in/Measles-Immunization-Day_pg)
  2. Measles - (http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs286/en/)
  3. Measles Vaccination - (https://www.cdc.gov/measles/vaccination.html)
  4. Measles immunisation - (http://www.kidshealth.org.nz/measles-immunisation)
Source: Medindia

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