Experts call for boosting MMR vaccination drive in children

February 27, 2024
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New Delhi, Feb 27 (IANS) Amid the recent outbreak of measles in Madhya Pradesh, health experts on Tuesday called for boosting MMR vaccination drive in children.

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease, which can cause respiratory complications. It is especially dangerous for young children and a leading cause of death.

Madhya Pradesh reported two deaths and about 17 active cases of measles on February 19. Globally, the US, Europe and Australia are also seeing a significant rise in measles cases, since 2023.

The main cause behind the spread is missed measles vaccines among people. The MMR vaccine, administered in two doses, offers robust protection, boasting a reported efficacy of 97 per cent.

“The surge in measles and mumps cases currently underscores the imperative of proactive healthcare measures. Recognising early signs like fever, cough, and inflammation is extremely paramount. Simple precautions like proper personal hygiene can mitigate transmission. However, the most effective defence lies in the MMR vaccination,” Dr Nehal Shah, Consultant Paediatrician, NHSRCC Children’s Hospital, Mumbai, told IANS.

Common symptoms include high fever and cough along with nasal discharge followed by typical spotty rashes that are distinct from other ailments. Complications could potentially lead to pneumonia or encephalitis with occasional fatal outcomes as well.

“The recent surge of Measles in children in Madhya Pradesh highlights an urgent need to be aware of its symptoms and take necessary precautions before it exacerbates,” Dr John Paul, Consultant in Tropical Medicine & Infectious Disease, SPARSH Hospital, Bangalore, told IANS.

“It is essential to emphasise the significance of vaccination among school-age children as they frequently congregate in congested spaces, which considerably augments virus transmission. The MMR vaccine should be administered at approximately 1 year old and followed up with a second dosage when the child reaches three years old,” he added.

Adults who have skipped or had an incomplete vaccination history can also consider getting immunised, the experts said.

–IANS

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