- India had set a target to eliminate measles and rubella (MR) by 2023, having missed the earlier deadline of 2020, due to a variety of reasons, exacerbated by disruptions due to the pandemic.
- An earlier target that was set for 2015 was also missed.
Significance of the target
- The measles virus is one of the world’s most contagious human viruses that kills more than 1,00,000 children every year globally, and rubella is a leading vaccine-preventable cause of birth defects, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
- Both measles and rubella can be prevented by just two doses of a safe and effective vaccine.
- Over the past two decades, the measles vaccine is estimated to have averted more than 30 million deaths globally, as per the WHO’s statistics.
- India conducted a phased measles catch-up immunisation for children aged 9 months–10 years in 14 States, vaccinating approximately 119 million children.
- Mission Indradhanush was launched in 2014 to ramp up vaccinating the unvaccinated population.
- During 2017–2021, India adopted a national strategic plan for measles and rubella elimination.
- India introduced rubella-containing vaccine (RCV) into the routine immunisation programme.
- It launched a nationwide measles-rubella supplementary immunisation activity (SIA) catch-up campaign.
- It also transitioned from outbreak-based surveillance to case-based acute fever and rash surveillance, and more than doubled the number of laboratories in the measles-rubella network.
- Rubella is a contagious disease caused by a virus.
- It is also called “German measles,” but it is caused by a different virus than measles
- Most people who get rubella and measles usually have a mild illness, with symptoms that can include a low-grade fever, sore throat, and a rash that starts on the face and spreads to the rest of the body.
- Rubella and measles can cause a miscarriage or serious birth defects in a developing baby if a woman is infected while she is pregnant.
- Measles is a highly contagious infectious disease caused by measles virus
- Small white spots known as Koplik’s spots may form inside the mouth two or three days after the start of symptoms
- The best protection against rubella is the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine.
Signs and Symptoms
- For children who do have symptoms, a red rash is typically the first sign.
- The rash generally first appears on the face and then spreads to the rest of the body, and lasts about three days
- Most adults who get rubella usually have a mild illness, with low-grade fever, sore throat, and a rash that starts on the face and spreads to the rest of the body.
- Rubella and measles spreads when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Also, if a woman is infected, while she is pregnant, she can pass it to her developing baby and cause serious harm.
- A person with rubella may spread the disease to others up to one week before the rash appears, and remain contagious up to 7 days after.
- However, 25% to 50% of people infected with rubella do not develop a rash or have any symptoms, but they still spread it to others.
- Rubella can be prevented with the MMR vaccine.
- This protects against three diseases: measles, mumps, and rubella.
- CDC (Centre for Disease Control) recommends children get two doses of MMR vaccine
- The MMR vaccine is very safe and effective. One dose of the MMR vaccine is about 97% effective at preventing rubella.