'Measles deaths': Health ministry sends team to Mumbai – The Indian Express

AFTER REPORTS of increase in suspected measles cases and three deaths in children, the Union Health Ministry on Wednesday rushed a multi-disciplinary team to Mumbai. It is yet to be determined whether the deaths could have been due to measles that can sometimes lead to complications such as encephalitis (swelling in the brain), blindness, and pneumonia.
“We don’t even know whether the deaths are because of measles; the state government has also not categorised these deaths as measles. The team of experts from different fields will determine whether these were in fact measles cases. The team will also see the vaccination status of the children who have died; measles deaths should not occur because our vaccination coverage is nearly 100%,” said an official from the Health Ministry. The team is likely to submit a preliminary report by Thursday evening.
If it indeed is measles, the expert team will also carry out active case finding and suggest other interventions. “The team will also undertake field visits to investigate the outbreak and assist the state health department in terms of public health measures, management guidelines, and protocols to manage the increasing cases of measles being reported in Mumbai,” said the ministry in a statement.
The three-member team is headed by Dr Anubhav Srivastava, Deputy Director, Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP), NCDC.
India has seen an increase in the number of measles cases – 11,156 cases of measles have been reported in 2022 till September, according to data from the World Health Organization. To compare, there were 6,078 recorded in 2021, 5,598 cases in 2020, and 10,708 cases in 2019.
Measles is a highly contagious infection with vaccination considered to be one of the most effective intervention for reducing cases and deaths. With a goal of eliminating measles and rubella (another similar viral infection), India launched a one-time immunisation campaign for all children between the ages of 9 months to 15 years in a phased manner 2017 onwards, with almost all states including Maharashtra having completed the vaccination.
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Pic 2 4Anonna DuttAnonna Dutt is a health reporter with the Indian Express. She writes o… read more


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