Measles (Khasra) is a highly contagious viral disease which affects mostly children. It is one of the leading causes of death and disability among young children. Measles Immunization Day is celebrated on 16th march every year to make people aware about this deadly disease and how they can deal with the same. There is no specific treatment for measles but there is a vaccine to protect from the disease, which is both safe as well as cost effective. Young children, who don’t receive measles immunization, are at highest risk of measles and its complications, including death.
In 2017, about 85% of the world's children received one dose of measles vaccine by their first birthday through routine health services and 67% of children received second dose. Measles vaccination resulted in 80 % drop in measles deaths between 2000 and 2017 worldwide that means it saved an estimated 21.1 million lives in this duration making measles vaccine one of the best buys in public health.
The first symptom of measles is usually a high fever, which begins about 10 to 12 days after exposure to virus, along with, cold, redness of the eyes and rash. Measles spreads by coughing and sneezing, close personal contact or direct contact with infected nasal or throat secretions.
Death due to measles are caused by the complications associated with the disease like blindness, encephalitis, severe diarrhea, pneumonia. Severity of the measles increases in cases of poor nourishment, Vitamin A deficiency and HIV/ AIDS.
WHO recommends immunization for all children with 2 doses of measles vaccine, either alone, or in a measles-rubella (MR) or measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) combination. In India, measles vaccination is given under Universal Immunisation Programme at 9-12 months of age and 2 nd dose at 16-24 months of age.
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