There is now an imminent threat of measles spreading in various regions globally, as COVID-19 led to a steady decline in vaccination coverage and weakened surveillance of the disease, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. public health agency said on Wednesday (November 23). Measles is one of the most contagious human viruses and is almost entirely preventable through vaccination. However, it requires 95% vaccine coverage to prevent outbreaks among populations.
Also Read: Replace Paper-Based Registry, Now Healthcare Is Just A Click Away With ‘Khushi Baby’ App
A record high of nearly 40 million children missed a measles vaccine dose in 2021 due to hurdles created by the COVID pandemic, the WHO and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a joint report.
While measles cases have not yet gone up dramatically compared to previous years, now is the time to act, the WHO’s measles lead, Patrick O’Connor, told Reuters.
“We are at a crossroads,” he said on Tuesday. “It is going to be a very challenging 12-24 months trying to mitigate this.”
A combination of factors like lingering social distancing measures and cyclical nature of measles may explain why there has not yet been an explosion of cases despite the widening immunity gaps, but that could change quickly, said O’Connor, pointing out the highly contagious nature of the disease.
The WHO has already seen an increase of large disruptive outbreaks since the start of 2022, rising from 19 to almost 30 by September, O’Connor said, adding that he was particularly worried about parts of sub-Saharan Africa.
Also Read: Greater Efforts Needed To Get Routine Immunisation Back To Pre-Covid Times: WHO
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.