Five children, all under the age of five, have died of suspected measles in a Satna village within a week, raising questions about the government’s immunisation programme.
While four of the children died between May 28 and 30, the latest death was reported on June 3, Satna chief medical and health officer Dr SP Garg said. All the five children — of them was one-year-old — hailed from Khairwar village.
“The children died after complaining of rashes, high fever and vomiting,” Garg said.
Three of the children were vaccinated against measles and health officials were gathering information about the fourth, Garg said. The child who died on June 3 was being treated in neighbouring Panna and his details were not available.
Blood samples of five more children had been sent for tests.
The health department staff were served show cause-notices for failing to report the illness, Garg said.
“It’s yet not clear whether the children died of measles, as measles generally doesn’t turn killer. The infection could have turned into septicaemia. Also, older children who complained of similar problem have been found to be suffering from chicken pox and not measles,” Garg said.
A national family health survey report said almost half the children in Satna district, which has a dismal record of women and child health, are yet to be immunised fully but health department records show 70% immunisation in Khairwar. Satna has recorded 130 deaths per 1,000 live births.