Mumbai with a population of 1.25 billion is facing a new threat and that threat is measles. Measles is spreading rapidly here. According to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), 303 cases have been reported so far this year and 11 deaths have taken place.
How the outbreak of measles is increasing in Mumbai can be understood from these two figures. First- 303 cases have been reported this year, whereas only 9 cases were reported last year. Second- There have been 11 deaths so far this year, while two patients lost their lives last year.
Measles outbreak is increasing not only in Mumbai, but also in other cities. About 550 cases have been reported in Maharashtra alone this year. Apart from this, many cases of measles have also been reported in Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Kerala and Maharashtra.
According to America’s Center for Disease Control (CDC), between April and September this year, about 9,500 cases of measles have been reported in India. The maximum outbreak is in India only. Somalia is on the second number, where around 8 and a half thousand cases have been reported.
In the midst of all this, the World Health Organization (WHO) has also warned that due to Kovid, measles vaccination has been affected and due to this there can be an outbreak of measles in almost every part of the world. WHO estimates that about 40 million children have been left out of measles vaccination.
Where is measles spread in Mumbai?
According to BMC, measles outbreak is spreading at 22 places in 11 out of 24 wards. But some cases have also been reported in 7 different wards, including the A-ward of South Mumbai.
BMC said that in all cases of fever with rashes, two doses of Vitamin-A are given. The second dose is given after 24 hours.
At present, measles patients are admitted in 8 district hospitals – Kasturba Hospital, Shivaji Nagar Maternity Home, Bharat Ratna Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Hospital, Rajawadi Hospital, Shatabdi Hospital, Kurla Bhabha Hospital, Krantijyoti Savitribai Phule Hospital and Seven Hills Hospital.
Measles cases are also coming out outside Mumbai. Some patients have also appeared in Bhiwandi of Thane and Malegaon of Nashik, adjacent to Mumbai.
Why is measles spreading?
Health experts give many reasons for this. Health expert told the news agency that there are reasons like dirty places to live, large family, lack of health facilities, lack of cleanliness and nutrition, weak immunity, not getting vaccinated.
A BMC official said that due to Kovid in 2020 and 2021, the work of vaccination of other diseases has been affected, including measles. Because of this, a large number of children missed the measles vaccine.
There has been a spurt in measles cases since the end of September this year. Most of the infection is spreading in areas like Govandi, Deonar, Kurla and Chunabhatti. Most of the slums are here, where there is neither better health facility, nor cleanliness nor good food.
Health officials say that there are many fake doctors in these areas, due to which patients do not get proper treatment.
Most of the infections are in the M-East ward. Dr. Srishti Jaitley told the news agency that when the city was settling down, a dumping ground and scrap yard were made in this ward and over time people started settling here. Because of this there is a lot of filth here.
Then what is the way to escape?
Measles is a very contagious disease, which is spread by a virus named ‘Paramyxovirus’. If the infected person coughs or sneezes, then the virus comes through the particles of spit and spreads around.
The World Health Organization (WHO) says that before the introduction of the measles vaccine in 1963, this disease was very dangerous. It used to become an epidemic every two-three years and it used to cause 26 lakh deaths every year. However, vaccination controlled this disease.
There is no specific treatment for measles. Most patients recover with simple treatment. But it can be avoided by vaccination. Children are most at risk of this, especially those who have not taken the vaccine.
Measles-Rubella vaccine is given in India. Its first dose is given when the child is 9 to 12 months old and the second dose is given between 16 and 24 months. If you have taken the vaccine in childhood, then you are protected from measles for the rest of your life.
Apart from this, children who are deficient in Vitamin-A are also at the highest risk of measles. Children in Mumbai are being given two doses of Vitamin-A vaccine. Because on getting infected, the body starts dehydrating and the level of Vitamin-A falls.
What are the symptoms of measles?
According to WHO, high fever comes first when measles comes under the grip of measles. It may take 10 to 12 days for its symptoms to appear.
When infected with this, the nose keeps running, phlegm remains, eyes water, eyes become red, spots appear on the mouth-throat and hands-feet.
How dangerous is measles?
Measles is a very contagious disease and also dangerous. WHO says that despite vaccination worldwide, millions of deaths occur due to measles every year.
Last year alone, more than 90 lakh cases of measles were reported worldwide and more than 1.28 lakh people died. There were 22 countries where the outbreak of measles was the highest.
Complications from the disease are the main cause of death due to measles. Complications are common in children younger than 5 years and people over 30 years of age.
The risk of death increases when the patient has a serious illness. In severe cases, blindness, encephalitis, severe diarrhea, dehydration, ear infections, breathing difficulties or pneumonia can occur.
Those children who are not getting proper nutrition, have vitamin-A deficiency or have weakened immune system due to HIV AIDS or other disease are at risk of serious infection.
Measles may not have a solid cure, but vaccination can be avoided. That’s why definitely take the vaccine. If infected with measles, doctors give two doses of Vitamin-A vaccine at an interval of 24 hours, so that the level of Vitamin-A is maintained. Deficiency of Vitamin-A can lead to blindness or damage to the eyes.