Mumbai sees 31 outbreaks of measles, BMC to start vaccination drive
The civic body has recorded 31 outbreaks of measles this year. Last year, 23 such outbreaks were reported in the city. The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines an outbreak as at least five cases reported from an area.
As per the directives from the government of India, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will start a vaccination campaign against rubella – a kind of measles known by a reddish coloured rash – in the city from November 27. The campaign aims at immunising around 30 lakh children in the age group of nine months to 15 years. Dr Padmaja Keskar, BMC’S city health officer said many cases of childhood abnormalities are a result of rubella infection.
Dr Chandrasekhar Chiplunkar, assistant health officer at the BMC, said the increase in cases is because of an increase in the reportage of cases.
“The cases are scattered across the city, but many private practitioners don’t report them as it is not a notifiable disease,” he said.
A WHO official said that the campaign will be an excellent opportunity to immunise all children who have either received incomplete doses or have missed out on them. “The idea is to break the chain of transmission and achieve elimination of measles and rubella through the campaign,” said the WHO official.
Dr Tanu Singhal, consultant paediatrician at Andheri’s Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, said she has seen at least a dozen measles cases this year. “The campaign is an excellent opportunity to vaccinate all children. Parents often delay the vaccination if the child has a cold and cough and miss out the dose in the process,” she added.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease that spreads through contact with an infected person’s mucus and saliva. While India accounts for 37% of global measles death, it also has the second highest population of children across the globe that has not been vaccinated against measles, according to the WHO.