The Union Health Ministry on Wednesday rushed a team of experts from different medical fields to Mumbai after the report of measles outbreak and deaths of three children.
The exact cause of death is yet to be determined. However, measles can 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%,” The Indian Express reported the Health Minister as saying.
The team may submit a preliminary report by Thursday evening. If measles is found, the medical team could suggest interventions and finding of active cases will be carried out.
According to the statement of the Health Ministry: “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.”
Dr Anubhav Srivastava, Deputy Director, Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP), NCDC is healming the three-member team.
India has witnessed an increase in the number of measles cases – 11,156 cases of measles have been reported in 2022 till September, as per data from the World Health Organization, reported The Indian Express.
Measles cases were recorded at 6,078 in 2021, 5,598 cases in 2020, and 10,708 in 2019. Measles is considered to be a highly contagious disease. However, vaccination could be one of the most effective interventions for declining cases and deaths.
In a bid to eradicate measles and rubella (another similar viral infection), India kickstarted a one-time immunisation campaign for all children between the ages of 9 months to 15 years in a phased manner 2017 onwards. The immunisation drive covered almost all states including Maharashtra.