Following reports of a rise in suspected cases of measles and three deaths among children, the Union Health Ministry on Wednesday sent a multi-disciplinary team to Mumbai. It is not yet determined whether the deaths may have been due to measles which can sometimes lead to complications such as encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), blindness, and pneumonia.
“We do not even know whether the deaths were caused by measles; The state government has also not classified these deaths in the category of measles. The team of experts from different fields will determine whether these were indeed cases of measles. The team will also see the vaccination status of children who have died; There should not be measles deaths as our vaccination coverage is almost 100%,” said a health ministry official. The team is likely to submit the preliminary report by Thursday evening.
If it is indeed measles, the expert team will search for the active case and suggest other interventions. “The team will undertake field visits to investigate the outbreak and assist the state health department in terms of public health measures, management guidelines and protocols for managing the rising cases of measles in Mumbai,” the ministry said in a statement.
The three-member team is headed by Dr. Anubhav Srivastava, Deputy Director, Integrated Disease Surveillance Program (IDSP), NCDC.
According to the World Health Organization data, India has seen an increase in the number of measles cases – 11,156 cases of measles have been reported in 2022 till September. To compare, 6,078 cases were registered in 2021, 5,598 cases in 2020 and 10,708 cases in 2019.
Measles is a highly contagious infection in which vaccination is considered the most effective intervention to reduce cases and deaths. With the goal of eliminating measles and rubella (another similar viral infection), India launched a one-time vaccination campaign for all children aged 9 months to 15 years in a phased manner from 2017 onwards, including Maharashtra. All the states have completed it. vaccination.