India's ranking in measles outbreak
- Globally, 20 million children did not receive measles vaccination in 2018. India had the highest incidence rate—76.4 per million population—for measles amongst children under the age of one between July 2018 - June 2019.
- However, the overall number of children having the disease fell to 24,076 (January-June 2019) from 69,391 in 2018.
- A recent WHO-Unicef study also noted that vaccination rates for DPT and measles have remained stagnant at 86% since 2010.
- Vaccination rates must rise at a large scale, especially, in conflict ridden and poor areas—the worst-hit by plummeting vaccination rates.
- Else, given the migration from these regions to other countries, the problem of missing vaccination could truly become universal.
- Poor healthcare infrastructure and awareness, like in India’s case, also need to be tackled. Also, as the report notes, the ‘anti-vaxx’ propaganda is emerging as the biggest obstacle. Concrete steps to negate and curb the spread of such propaganda also need to be taken.
- Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It remains an important cause of death among young children globally, despite the availability of a safe and effective vaccine.
- Under the Global Vaccine Action Plan, measles and rubella are targeted for elimination in five WHO Regions by 2020.
- WHO is the lead technical agency responsible for coordination of immunization and surveillance activities supporting all countries to achieve this goal.
- Measles is transmitted via droplets from the nose, mouth or throat of infected persons. Initial symptoms, which usually appear 10–12 days after infection, include high fever, a runny nose, bloodshot eyes, and tiny white spots on the inside of the mouth.
- Several days later, a rash develops, starting on the face and upper neck and gradually spreading downwards.