Measles in India
The respiratory disease measles remains a leading cause of death among young children, despite the fact that a safe and effective vaccine has been available for 40 years. Measles is an acute illness caused by a virus of the paramyxovirus family.
It is one of the most contagious diseases and many children who do not have sufficient immunity contract measles if exposed. During the first few weeks after contracting measles, a child’s immune system becomes weakened, and a normal cold or diarrhoea can become a life threatening illness.
Globally, an estimated 450 people, mostly children, die every day from measles despite the fact that an effective and safe vaccine is available at low cost.
The global reduction in death from measles reflects support and commitment by the Measles Initiative to boosting immunization coverage and by national governments to following the World Health Organization (WHO ) / UNICEF comprehensive strategy for reducing measles mortality. This strategy consists of four key components:
• Providing at least one dose of measles vaccine at routine vaccination coverage of at least 90 per cent of children, administered at nine months of age or shortly after.