What are Measles and Rubella?

Measles is a contagious disease caused by the virus of the paramyxovirus family, which spreads through coughing and sneezing of an infected person. In 2015 alone, more than 49,000 children died of measles in India.

Rubella is a mild viral illness which leads to a series of serious consequences if infected during early pregnancy and is known as Congenital Rubella Syndrome.

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Burdens of Measles

Globally, an estimated 1,34,200 deaths were caused from measles in 2015, even though a safe and cost-effective vaccine is available. Measles has killed an estimated 49,200 children in 2015 in India, contributing nearly 36% to the global figures.

Burdens of Rubella

Rubella, although a mild viral illness, can lead to serious consequences if infected during early pregnancy, leading to abortion, miscarriage, stillbirth.
It also causes a set of congenital anomalies in the foetus and newborns known as Congenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS), which is a cause of public health concern.

CRS is characterized by multiple defects, particularly affecting the eyes (glaucoma, cataract), ears (hearing loss), brain (microcephaly, mental retardation) and heart - many of which are lifelong disabilities, requiring treatment, surgeries and other expensive care throughout life.

Videos

The largest immunization campaign ever by the govt of India to keep the children of the country safe.

Amitabh Bachchan debunks myths about Measles and Rubella on social media.

Amitabh Bachchan talks about why he considers awareness about MR vaccination more important than anything else today.

How can we fight against it?

The Government of India is introducing a Measles and Rubella (MR) combination vaccine under the Universal Immunization Programme (UIP), which provides protection against both Measles and Rubella.

The Government of India is partnering with UNICEF, World Health Organization and Lions Club International to bring the MR vaccine to benefit all children in India between 9 months and 15 years of age.

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  • Measles and Rubella vaccine is introduced in the Measles-Rubella campaign, targeting children in the age group of 9 months to less than 15 years in a phased manner across the country.
  • The MR vaccine used is WHO-prequalified, manufactured in India, and is considered very safe and highly effective. 33.5 million children have already received the MR vaccine through this campaign.
  • Following the campaign, MR vaccine will be available under routine immunization, replacing the currently given two doses of measles vaccine. The first dose of MR vaccine will be given at 9- 12 months and the second dose at 16-24 months of age of child.
  • The campaign dose of MR vaccine should be given in addition to any previous vaccines given under routine immunization that contain measles or rubella. Health experts agree that an additional dose is safe and gives greater protection to children and the community.
  • This historic campaign will be the largest ever Measles-Rubella campaign launched in the world. About 41 crore children will be covered under this campaign in the entire country.

After the campaign, MR vaccine will be available under routine immunization as a two-dose schedule, replacing the currently given measles vaccine. As of October 2017, 33.5 million children have already received the MR vaccine through this campaign. The vaccine is given free of cost, both during the campaign and routine immunization.

FAQs

Measles
  1. Measles is a deadly disease and one of the major causes of death in children
  2. Measles is highly contagious and spreads through coughing and sneezing of an infected person
  3. Measles can make your child vulnerable to life threatening complications such as Pneumonia, diarrhea and brain infection
  4. Measles is commonly recognizable as a visible red rash with high fever, cough, runny nose & red eyes
Rubella
  1. If a woman gets rubella infection in early pregnancy, it can result in Congenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS), which can have severe and even fatal consequences for the foetus and newborns. Children born of unprotected mothers having rubella infection during early pregnancy have high chances of suffering from long term congenital anomalies affecting the eyes (glaucoma, cataract), ears (hearing loss), brain (microcephaly, mental retardation) and heart defects.
  2. Rubella can also lead to abortions, miscarriages and stillbirths in pregnant women

The Measles–Rubella(MR) campaign is a special campaign to vaccinate all children in a wide age group with MR vaccine, within a limited timeframe in an entire state. The MR campaign dose will be given to all children present in the state during the campaign period who have completed the age group of 9 months and are below 15 years old. Both previously vaccinated and unvaccinated children will be covered. The goal of the MR campaign is to quickly make the population immune from Measles and Rubella, to reduce deaths from measles and burden from CRS and to immunize maximum children with at least 95% vaccination coverage of the target age group in the community.

  1. All children who have completed 9 months and are less than 15 years of age, regardless of previous vaccination status with Measles/Rubella vaccine and regardless of Measles/Rubella infection/disease in the past
  2. Malnourished children should be given priority for vaccination, as they are more likely to have complications like diarrhoea and pneumonia
  3. Children with minor illnesses such as mild respiratory infection, diarrhoea and low-grade fever can also vaccinated

Majority of Measles and Rubella cases occur in children below 15 years of age. Therefore this age group is being targeted during the campaign.

  1. Fixed posts, include Anganwadi centers, Play schools, Kindergarten, Schools, government health centers and even sele.cted private hospitals. No house-to-house vaccination
  2. During the first two weeks in schools
  3. Non-school-going and left out children will be vaccinated in the following two weeks in fixed outreach sessions and mobile posts in villages and urban areas
  4. If, at any place, 4 or > 4 children have been found missed during Rapid Convenience Monitoring, the MR campaign activity should be repeated in the area during fourth week of the MR campaign to cover these missed children.
Do not vaccinate a child who has:
  1. High fever or other serious disease (eg: unconscious, convulsions, etc.)
  2. Hospitalized children
  3. History of a severe allergic reaction to Measles/Rubella vaccine in the past

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