Cases of Measles show alarming rise, warns WHO

By admin April 22, 2019 13:08


WHO has come out with the report “Progress towards Regional Measles Elimination- Worldwide” which shows that cases of measles are showing alarming rise worldwide.

Highlights of the report

In the year of 2012, the World Health Assembly endorsed the Global Vaccine Action Plan. Under this plan, countries adopted goals for elimination of measles by 2020.

  • During 2000–2017, annual reported measles incidence decreased by 83%, and annual estimated measles deaths decreased by 80%.
  • Since 2000, the global measles elimination efforts have prevented an estimated approx. 21.1 million deaths.
  • However, measles elimination milestones have not been met yet. But, according to WHO, at least 95% of a population must have immunity to control the spread of Measles. However, in several European countries, the figure is 85% or less.
  • Further, incidence of measles has reached highest levels in two decades across Europe.
  • This is mainly attributed to lower vaccinations among the population. This is on account of parental neglect and mistaken belief that vaccines can cause autism.


According to a World Bank data, the percentage of children between 12-23 months that have been immunized against measles in India is 88%.


About Measles

  • Measles is a viral infection of the respiratory system which can spread through contact with infected mucus and saliva.
  • An infected person can release the infection into the air when they cough or sneeze, i.e. it is a communicable disease.
  • In fact, it is the leading cause of death in children.
  • A vitamin A deficiency is considered to be a risk factor for measles. Moreover, children with too little vitamin A in their diets have the higher risk of catching the virus.


About Rubella (German measles)

  • Rubella is a mild viral infection which occurs most often in children’s and also young adults.
  • In fact, the Rubella infection during the pregnancy can also cause some abortion, stillbirth and also may lead to multiple birth defects in the new born; like blindness, deafness, heart defects; known as Congenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS).
  • Moreover, India accounts for around one-third of all children’s who born worldwide with congenital rubella syndrome (CRS).


Mission Indradhanush

  • Measles is being fought against in India as a part of a wider mission known as ‘Mission Indradhanush’.
  • Launched on 25 December 2014, it is a health mission of the Government of India.
  • The scheme seeks to drive towards 90% full immunization coverage of India and sustain the same by the year 2020.


  • Vaccination is being provided against eight vaccine preventable diseases nationally:
  1. Measles
  2. Diphtheria
  3. Pertussis
  4. Tetanus
  5. Severe form of Childhood Tuberculosis
  6. Hepatitis B
  7. Meningitis & Pneumonia caused by Haemophilus influenza type B
  8. Polio [There are three wild types of poliovirus (WPV) – type 1, type 2, and type 3. Mostly People need to be protected against all the three types of the virus in order to prevent the polio disease and also the polio vaccination is the best protection. There are two vaccines used to protect against polio disease, Inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV) and Oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV)]


  • Besides that the vaccination is also available against  Rotavirus Diarrhoea and Japanese Encephalitis in selected states and districts

Way ahead

  • In India, though Mission Indradhanush seems to have been largely successful from the data available so far, a lot still remains to be done as some regions in some states have not met the expected goals.
  • But with a major part of the country already covered, all that needs to be done is to identify the areas of lower vaccination and launch a campaign in mission mode for deeper reach of the mission.
  • Accordingly, to further intensify the immunization programme, Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI) was launched on October 8, 2017. Through this programme, the aim of government to reach each and every child up to two years of age and all those pregnant women’s who have been left uncovered under the routine immunisation programmes. The special drive has been focussing on improving immunisation coverage in select districts and cities to ensure full immunisation.


Vantage Point for PT

Consider the following statements about ‘Measles’:

  1. It is a viral infection of the excretory system
  2. It can be caused by a deficiency of Vitamin D
  3. It is one of the diseases against which vaccination drive has been launched under Mission Indradhanush

Which of these statements is/are correct?

a) 1 only

b) 1 and 2 only

c) 3 only*

d) 1, 2 and 3


Statement 1 is wrong because although Measles is a viral infection, it affects the respiratory system and not the excretory system. As for statement 2, it is wrong as well because Measles is caused by deficiency of Vitamin A. Statement 3 is correct as Measles is a part of diseases being targeted under Mission Indradhanush. Hence, the correct answer is (c).

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By admin April 22, 2019 13:08