Measles in India Despite Vaccination

Measles at large despite vaccine

Measles at large despite vaccine
Parents often forget to get their child the second dose of the measles vaccine (PIC FOR REPRESENTATIONAL PURPOSES)

Study conducted by central govt and WHO finds 76 per cent of 1,000 cases in Pune region affected with the disease after getting only first dose of vaccine.

A study carried out by the central government and World Health Organisation (WHO) in Pune region, has found that despite having a coverage rate of about 90 per cent, measles is prevalent and continues to affect infants. The coverage rate in Pune is around 90 per cent for the first dose of the vaccine, though the study found around 1,000 cases where measles were suspected, of which 76 per cent were confirmed.

The estimates by WHO claimed that almost 35 per cent of global deaths due to measles were reported in 2011 in India. Considering the death toll, the government committed itself to eliminating measles by the year 2020. "Taking this into account and to find the measles vaccine efficacy for children who were vaccinated with the first dose, this study was conducted in Pune region," said Dr AP Narula, surveillance medical officer, WHO.

"Over 1,000 suspected cases were reported from Pune region, including Haveli, Khed and Shirur. Of them, 76 per cent were confirmed cases and of these 76 per cent, 95 per cent were less then 15 years of age which shows that measles can also affect older children," he added.

"Besides this, the infection was found mainly in those who had only one dose of vaccination at nine months of age. This shows the importance of the second dose of measles that can increase the vaccine efficacy and improve the child's immunity in fighting the infection," Narula further stated.

"The incidence rate of measles is more than 250 per million persons a year and nearly half the cases were affected due to outbreaks. Through this surveillance, we noticed that the high incidence of measles and the frequent outbreaks were in infants covered in the vaccination programme. This made it evident that a single dose of measles vaccine is not sufficient for children already suffering from auto-immune disorders or are weak. To prevent further outbreaks, parents should be urged to vaccinate their children against measles twice as many tend to miss the second dose," said Dr RM Kumbhar, state immunisation officer, Government of India, who was also part of the study.

"Through this study, we also found that of the remaining non-measles cases, most were rubella infection. We have urged the government to include this in the national immunisation programme. The suggestion is still under consideration and chances of the launch of a rubella vaccine will be announced early next year," Kumbhar added.

"Besides this, the study helped us in strengthening our surveillance programme, which is essential in implementing and evaluating measles immunisation strategies across the state and is helping us in monitoring the progress towards measles eradication in the city as well as the state, said Kumbhar.


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