Mumbai, the financial capital of India, has seen an increase in measles cases and the total number of cases stood at 233 on Wednesday (23 November). In Mumbai, 12 deaths have been reported, according to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). An 8-month-old baby died of the disease on Wednesday this year, which is the latest sad news on this front. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say measles vaccinations have dropped significantly since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, resulting in nearly 40 million children missing a dose of the vaccine last year. In a report released Wednesday, the WHO and the CDC said millions of children are now vulnerable to measles, one of the world’s most contagious diseases.
Talking to the media, Dr Vaidehi Dande, Child Specialist and Neonatologist at Symbiosis Hospital, Dadar, Mumbai talked about the disease, how it spreads, precautions to be taken and vaccination when it comes to combating this disease Importance of
What is measles and how does it spread?
It is a viral infection caused by Morbillivirus. It can only infect humans and is spread from human to human through close contact. The source of infection is nasal secretions and aerosols generated from the mouth during speaking, crying, etc.
Measles Signs and Symptoms
Infection begins with high-grade fever as well as severe rhinitis and conjunctivitis (red eyes) and eye discharge. The fever subsides by the fourth day and a characteristic rash begins on the ears and face and then spreads to the trunk and abdomen. The rash gives a ‘sandpaper-like’ feel to the skin, heals in a few days and leaves dark spots on the skin that lighten over a few months. The infection itself is self-limited but complications occur in up to 5% of those infected, complications are more common and more severe in unvaccinated children.
Which age groups are at higher risk?
– Children under 5 years old
– pregnant women
People with compromised immune systems, such as those with leukemia or HIV infection, and the elderly population
Importance of getting measles vaccine
Getting the measles vaccine is the best way to prevent measles. The vaccine is very effective in preventing the disease. In vaccinated children who develop measles, the disease is mild and the complication rate is low. It is started at 9 months with a booster at 15 months and 4-5 years. The vaccine is easily available and has minimal side effects. Usually, it is combined with the mumps and rubella and sometimes chickenpox vaccine.
For how long can an infected patient spread measles?
Four days before and four days after rash.
Is it curable?
This is a self-limiting infection that is potentially life-threatening. There is no curative treatment, treatment is supportive.
What preventive measures should be taken during an outbreak in your area?
Vaccination if not previously taken: Make sure your child gets the MR vaccine during MR vaccination campaigns organized by the government.
Isolate Your Child: Isolate them from other children during episodes of fever. Ensure personal hygiene and prevent close contact with infected persons.
What are the health complications of measles in children and pregnant women?
- middle ear infection
- Brain infection/encephalitis which can lead to permanent hearing loss and epilepsy
- diarrhea and malnutrition
- reactivation of tuberculosis
- slow viral disease after many years of infection