Measles outbreak can be deadly due to corona virus: WHO - Seeker's Thoughts

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Measles outbreak can be deadly due to corona virus: WHO

Measles outbreak can be due to corona virus: WHO
In the late 2019, before the outbreak of COVID19, WHO announced that measles deaths had been dropped by 73 percent.

However, when the pandemic started, the WHO warned that measles deaths can rise in April 2020. The reason for measles outbreak was stated that the vaccination programmes were being delayed.
What is the number of children who won’t get immunisation due to Coronavirus?

As per the UNICEF data, 117 million children in 37 countries may not get immunisation. However, previously, in 2018 even though the safe and cost effective vaccination was available, yet there were more than 140000 deaths due to measles, mostly under the age of five.

Of the estimated 19.2 million infants not vaccinated with at least one dose of measles vaccine through routine immunization in 2018, about 6.1 million were in 3 countries: India, Nigeria, and Pakistan. Which is going to be the worst amid Coronavirus.

With 39,299 cases India bagged the fourth spot after Madagascar (150,976), Ukraine (84,394) and Philippines (45,847).  However, India had the lowest measles incidence rate per million in the top 10 countries — 29.68 in 2019 before Coronavirus.

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Children under the age of one get infected by the virus the most in India as they have the highest incidence rate of 76.4 per million population, according to WHO. Moreover, this is the same age bracket that has received the highest number of zero doses of measles vaccination between July 2018 and June 2019.

The coronavirus spread is going to turn the scenario in the worst.
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In April 2020, United Kingdom also lost its status as a measles free country.

Why measles vaccination is important?

Measles is highly contagious viral disease that can spread rapidly. It is also known as Rubella/Morbilli.

During 2000- 2018, measles vaccination prevented an estimated 23.2 million deaths.
Before the introduction of measles vaccine in 1963 and widespread vaccination, major epidemics occurred approximately every 2–3 years and measles caused an estimated 2.6 million deaths each year.

A susceptible person that is exposed to the measles virus has a 90% chance of becoming infected. Additionally, and an infected person can go to spread the virus to anywhere between 9 and 18 susceptible individuals.

The main risk factor for catching measles is being unvaccinated. Additionally, some groups are at a higher risk of developing complications from measles infection, including young children, people with a weakened immune system, and pregnant women.

Unvaccinated young children are at highest risk of measles and its complications, including death. Unvaccinated pregnant women are also at risk. Any non-immune person (who has not been vaccinated or was vaccinated but did not develop immunity) can become infected.

Measles is still common in many developing countries – particularly in parts of Africa and Asia. The overwhelming majority (more than 95%) of measles deaths occur in countries with low per capita incomes and weak health infrastructures.

Measles outbreaks can be particularly deadly in countries experiencing or recovering from a natural disaster or conflict. Damage to health infrastructure and health services interrupts routine immunization, and overcrowding in residential camps greatly increases the risk of infection.

Corona Virus has already hit badly the world, and all these scenario are going to be darker amid coronavirus crisis. 

Measles happens in adults too

Measles is not the children's disease, it can happen among adults too. 
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) serious complications are not only more common in young children, but also in adults over the age of 20. These complications can include things like pneumonia, encephalitis, and blindness.

Although it’s often associated with childhood illness, adults can get measles too.

The Treatment of Measles

All children diagnosed with measles should receive two doses of vitamin A supplements, given 24 hours apart. This treatment restores low vitamin A levels during measles that occur even in well-nourished children and can help prevent eye damage and blindness. Vitamin A supplements have also been shown to reduce the number of measles deaths.

Severe complications from measles can be reduced through supportive care that ensures good nutrition, adequate fluid intake and treatment of dehydration with WHO-recommended oral rehydration solution. This solution replaces fluids and other essential elements that are lost through diarrhoea or vomiting. Antibiotics should be prescribed to treat eye and ear infections, and pneumonia.
Getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent measles. Two doses of the measles vaccine are 97 percent Trusted Source effective at preventing measles infection.

There are two vaccines available — the MMR vaccine and the MMRV vaccine. The MMR vaccine is a three-in-one vaccination that can protect you from measles, mumps, and rubella. The MMRV vaccine protects against the same infections as the MMR vaccine and also includes protection against chickenpox.

Children can receive their first vaccination at 12 months, or sooner if traveling internationally, and their second dose between the ages of 4 and 6. Adults who have never received an immunization can request the vaccine from their doctor.

Vaccination isn’t just important for protecting you and your family. It’s also important for protecting people who can’t be vaccinated. When more people are vaccinated against a disease, it’s less likely to circulate within the population. This is called herd immunity.

How to prevent Measles until the Vaccination is available
Not everyone can receive measles vaccination. But there are other ways that you can help to prevent the spread of measles.

Practice good hand hygiene. Wash your hands before eating, after using the bathroom, and before touching your face, mouth, or nose.

Don’t share personal items with people who may be ill. This can include things like eating utensils, drinking glasses, and toothbrushes. Avoid coming into contact with people who are sick.

WHO’s Role and Recommendation in Preventing Measles

In 2010, the World Health Assembly established 3 milestones towards the future eradication of measles to be achieved by 2015: increase routine coverage with the first dose of measles-containing vaccine (MCV1) by more than 90% nationally and more than 80% in every district; reduce and maintain annual measles incidence to less than 5 cases per million; and reduce estimated measles mortality by more than 95% from the 2000 estimate. 

In 2012, the Health Assembly endorsed the Global Vaccine Action Plan, with the objective of eliminating measles in four WHO regions by 2015 and in five regions by 2020.

By 2018, the global push to improve vaccine coverage resulted in a 73% reduction in deaths. During 2000–  2018, with support from the Measles & Rubella Initiative and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, measles vaccination prevented an estimated   23.2 million deaths; most of the deaths averted were in the African region and in countries supported by the Gavi Alliance.

But without sustained attention, hard-fought gains can easily be lost. Where children are unvaccinated, outbreaks occur. Because of low coverage nationally or in pockets, multiple regions were hit with large measles outbreaks in 2018, causing many deaths. Based on current trends of measles vaccination coverage and incidence, the WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) concluded that measles elimination is greatly under threat, and the disease has resurged in a number of countries that had achieved or were close to achieving, elimination.

WHO continues to strengthen the global laboratory network to ensure timely diagnosis of measles and track the international spread of the measles viruses to allow a more coordinated country approach in targeting vaccination activities and reduce measles deaths from this vaccine-preventable disease.

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