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
for which effective and appropriate treatment is still not available.
‘Measles Immunization Day is observed on 16th of March every year to create awareness on Measles.’
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
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 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
- Encephalitis (brain
- Respiratory infections such as
measles may also increase the risk of miscarriage.
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
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:
Side Effects of Measles
- Pregnant women are not recommended
to have the MMR vaccine as it might harm the baby.
with a weakened immune system
- People with life
-threatening allergic reactions
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
There may also be few
cases of seizures and anaphylaxis.
with MMR vaccine is the only way to prevent measles.
- Measles Immunization Day - (https://www.nhp.gov.in/Measles-Immunization-Day_pg)
- Measles - (http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs286/en/)
- Measles Vaccination - (https://www.cdc.gov/measles/vaccination.html)
immunisation - (http://www.kidshealth.org.nz/measles-immunisation)