Measles Rubella Current Affairs

IEAG-MR group commends India on MR vaccination progress

The India Expert Advisory Group on Measles & Rubella (IEAG-MR) has commended India on progress of measles and rubella vaccination campaign. It reviewed existing strategies and efforts towards measles elimination and control of rubella. It concluded that India is on the right track.

IEAG-MR as advised for MCV (measles containing vaccine) to cover whole country by 2018. Presently, 13 states have been covered by the vaccination campaign.

MR vaccination campaign

The campaign is largest ever in any campaign against MR, targeting around 41 crore children across country. Under it, children are given single shot of MR vaccination free-of cost irrespective of their previous vaccination status or disease status. The target group covered under it are all children aged between 9 months and less than 15 years. Two doses of Measles vaccine fully protect children against measles infection. In past while the first dose coverage was close to 90% and 2nd dose lagged behind by 45%.

Measles and Rubella

Measles is a deadly disease and one of the important causes of death in children. It is highly contagious and spreads through coughing and sneezing of an infected person. Measles can make a child vulnerable to life threatening complications such as pneumonia, diarrhoea and brain infection. Globally, in 2015, measles killed an estimated 1, 34,200 children—mostly under-5 years. In India, it killed an estimated 49,200 children.

Rubella is generally a mild infection, but has serious consequences if infection occurs in pregnant women, causing congenital rubella syndrome (CRS), which is a cause of public health concern. CRS is characterized by congenital anomalies in the foetus and newborns affecting the eyes (glaucoma, cataract), ears (hearing loss), brain (microcephaly, mental retardation) and heart defects, causing a huge socio-economic burden on the families in particular and society in general.

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Government launches second phase of Measles-rubella vaccination campaign

The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has launched the second phase of measles-rubella (MR) vaccination campaign to reduce measles morbidity and mortality,

The second phase of campaign will cover 8 states and union territories namely Andhra Pradesh, Chandigarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Telangana and Uttarakhand.

Key Facts

The Health Ministry has initiated MR vaccination campaign in the age group of 9 months to less than 15 years in a phased manner in the country. It was started across the country under the universal immunisation programme (UIP).

The campaign aims to rapidly build up immunity for both measles and rubella diseases in the community to knock out the disease. Under the second phase, more than three crore children are expected to be covered in these 8 states.

Under this campaign, MR vaccine has replaced two doses of measles vaccine provided in the routine immunisation programme in these states. For those children who have already received such vaccination, the campaign dose will provide additional boosting to them.

Measles-rubella (MR)

Measles is one of the important causes of death in children. It is highly contagious and spreads through coughing and sneezing of an infected person. It can also make a child vulnerable to life threatening complications such as diarrhoea, pneumonia and brain infection. Symptoms of the infection can include cataracts and deafness. It can also affect the heart and the brain.

Rubella disease is commonly known as German Measles (or three-day measles). It is symptomatically similar to measles. It is generally a mild infection, but has serious consequences if infection occurs in pregnant women, causing congenital rubella syndrome (CRS). CRS is characterized by congenital anomalies in the foetus and newborns affecting the eyes (cataract, glaucoma), brain (microcephaly, mental retardation), ears (hearing loss) and heart defects.

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