MEASLES IN INDIA (Syllabus: GS Paper 2 – Social Issues - Health)

News-CRUX-10     18th November 2023        
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Context: An estimated 11 lakh children in India missed their crucial first dose of measles vaccine in 2022, according to a report by the World Health Organization and US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

  • This puts India among 10 countries with the highest number of children who did not receive the first shot.


  • About: A communicable disease that is highly contagious and caused by virus. This means it's very easily spread to others.
  • Causes: It is caused by morbillivirus, which is mostly seen in the winter and spring.
  • Measles virus: Belongs to the paramyxovirus family and it is normally passed through direct contact and through the air.
  • Spread: It is spread through droplets of nose, throat or mouth of an infected person.
  • Measles generally appear only 10 - 12 days after the infection.
  • Symptoms: High fever, Runny nose, Bloodshot eyes, Tiny white spots on the inside of the mouth, Rashes on the face, upper neck that spread downwards (this appears after several days).
  • Treatment: Routine measles vaccination for children, combined with mass immunization campaigns in countries with low routine coverage, are key public health strategies to reduce global measles deaths.
  • Vaccine: The measles vaccine was introduced in 1963.

o The vaccine for the disease are provided in the form of measles-rubella (MR), measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), or measles-mumps-rubella-varicella (MMRV) combination. The first dose of MMR is given at the age of 12 – 15 months, and the second one at 4 – 6 years.

o Adults and teenagers can also take MMR vaccinations as required.

  • Preventive efforts:

o Global: Under the Global Vaccine Action Plan, measles and rubella are targeted for elimination in five WHO Regions by 2020. WHO is the lead technical agency responsible for coordination of immunization and surveillance activities supporting all countries to achieve this goal.

  • India: The Government of India has launched the Measles and Rubella Vaccination Campaign in 2017 with a view to providing measles-rubella (MR) vaccines to children between the ages of nine months and under 15 years.
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