Measles and Rubella

Measles and Rubella

News Analysis   /   Measles and Rubella

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Published on: January 24, 2023

Source: The Hindu 

Why in News?

India had set a target to eliminate Measles and Rubella (MR) by 2023, having missed the earlier deadline of 2020, due to a variety of reasons, exacerbated by disruptions due to the pandemic. 

In 2019, India adopted the goal of measles and rubella elimination by 2023, anticipating that the 2020 goal could not be reached.

What are Measles and Rubella?

Measles:

  1. It is a highly contagious viral disease and is a cause of death among young children globally.
  2. It is caused by a single-stranded, enveloped RNA virus with 1 serotype. It is classified as a member of the genus Morbillivirus in the Paramyxoviridae family.
  3. It is particularly dangerous for children from the economically weaker background, as it attacks malnourished children and those with reduced immunity.
  4. It can cause serious complications, including blindness, encephalitis, severe diarrhoea, ear infection and pneumonia.

Rubella:

  • It is also called German Measles.
  • Rubella is a contagious, generally mild viral infection that occurs most often in children and young adults.
  • It is caused by the rubella virus which is an enveloped single-stranded RNA virus.
  • Rubella infection in pregnant women may cause death or congenital defects known as Congenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS) which causes irreversible birth defects.
  • Rubella isn't the same as measles, but the two illnesses share some signs and symptoms, such as the red rash.
  • Rubella is caused by a different virus than measles, and rubella isn't as infectious or as severe as measles.

What is the Global and Indian Scenario of Measles and Rubella?

  1. The measles virus is one of the world’s most contagious human viruses that kills more than 1,00,000 children every year globally, and rubella is a leading vaccine-preventable cause of birth defects, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). 
  2. Over the past two decades, the measles vaccine is estimated to have averted more than 30 million deaths globally, as per the WHO’s statistics. 
  3. During 2010–2013, India conducted a phased measles catch-up immunisation for children aged 9 months–10 years in 14 States, vaccinating approximately 119 million children.
  4. Mission Indradhanush was launched in 2014 to ramp up vaccinating the unvaccinated population.
  5. During 2017–2021, India adopted a national strategic plan for measles and rubella elimination.
  6. During the same period, the Government introduced rubella-containing vaccine (RCV) into the routine immunisation programme.
  7. As of December 2021, five countries have been verified and have sustained measles elimination - Bhutan, DPR Korea, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste. In addition, Maldives and Sri Lanka have sustained their rubella elimination status in 2021.

What are Measures to Curb MR?

Measles-Rubella Vaccination: The MR campaign targets around 41 crore children across the country, the largest ever in any campaign.

  • All children aged between 9 months and less than 15 years are given a single shot of MR vaccination irrespective of their previous measles/rubella vaccination status or measles/rubella disease status.
  • Other Initiatives include Universal Immunization Programme (UIP), Mission Indradhanush and Intensified Mission Indradhanush.
  • The vaccines for the diseases are provided in the form of measles-rubella (MR), measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) or measles-mumps-rubella-varicella (MMRV) combination.
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