Why is it in the news?
- The “Progress Toward Measles Elimination — Worldwide, 2000–2022” report was jointly released by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The report assesses global progress in eliminating measles, a highly contagious disease.
More about the Report
- According to the report, the global coverage with measles-containing vaccine (MCV) decreased significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic. This decline brought vaccination rates to their lowest levels since 2008. However, this decline in vaccination coverage is a concerning trend as it can lead to outbreaks of measles.
- Between the years 2000 and 2022, measles vaccination efforts are estimated to have prevented approximately 57 million deaths worldwide. This underscores the importance of vaccination programs in reducing the burden of measles-related morbidity and mortality.
- In India, it was reported that an estimated 11 lakh (1.1 million) children missed their crucial first dose of the measles vaccine in the year 2022. This statistic is alarming because it means a large number of children are vulnerable to contracting measles.
- India is also among the top 10 countries with the highest number of children who did not receive their first measles vaccine dose. This indicates a significant gap in vaccination coverage in the country.
- Furthermore, India was one of 37 countries that experienced large or disruptive measles outbreaks, reporting a total of 40,967 measles cases in the year 2022. This suggests that there were significant measles outbreaks in the country during that period, which can lead to severe health consequences.
- Measles is a highly contagious viral disease caused by a specific virus. It spreads easily when an infected person breathes, coughs, or sneezes. This makes it a significant public health concern, especially in densely populated areas.
- Measles can cause severe illness, complications such as pneumonia and encephalitis, and in some cases, it can lead to death. It is particularly dangerous for young children and individuals with compromised immune systems.
- The disease typically presents with symptoms like a high fever, cough, runny nose, and a characteristic rash that spreads across the body.
Prevention and Initiatives
- The most effective way to prevent measles is through vaccination. Measles vaccines are safe and highly effective in preventing the disease. When a large percentage of the population is vaccinated, it also provides herd immunity, protecting those who cannot be vaccinated.
- Efforts to combat measles include accelerated immunization activities by countries, partnerships like the Measles & Rubella Partnership (formerly the Measles & Rubella Initiative), and collaborations with international partners. These initiatives have been successful in preventing millions of deaths between 2000 and 2021 by increasing vaccination coverage and reducing measles transmission.