How to prevent and protect children from Measles.

How to prevent and protect children from Measles. 

Measles cases are on the rise in Pakistan and it kills many innocent children each year.

World Health Organization for the year 2017 reported 6,944 cases of Measles which is 100% more as compared to last year.

Eastern Mediterranean region which comprises of 22 countries, nearly 65% of all measles cases in 2017 were reported from Pakistan and followed by 22% cases reported from Afghanistan.  

By Mahmood Hussain, Wednesday 21st March 2018. Today is the festival day of Navroze (Nauroz or Nawruz) and we wish to all our readers who observe and celebrate this day worldwide I regularly write the articles and blogs to be published in BABY FIRST PAKISTAN, Facebook/babyfirstPakistan and other social media such as LinkedIn, Twitter and so on. The writer is from Karachi, Pakistan Currently in Philadelphia, USA.

Measles is a respiratory infection which is spread by the virus.

It is transmittable and contagious in nature. Measles symptom is the appearance of rashes on the body, flu-like symptoms such as fever, coughing and running nose. This can spread to others because the virus spread via coughing and sneezing by the sufferer.  It mostly catches or effects children’s because their immune system is still in developing stage. This may be fatal also.

Measles can be protected by giving MMR vaccine to children above one year.

In 2016 the CDC and American Academy of Pediatrician (AAP) provided updated immunization schedules. They both recommend MMR vaccines to be given (means measles, mumps and rubella) in babies who are 12 to 15month old and the second dose will be due in the baby at the age of 4-6 years. With the recently updated guidelines they have allowed MMR vaccination to be administered to those babies who are traveling outside the country and they attain the age of 6 months or older that is up to 11 months.

The reported cases of measles within Pakistan is a quite low, reason is many cases are not recorded or reported due to the poor surveillance system. These were the opinion expressed by Health experts.

Within Pakistan, the vaccination program covers around 50% of the overall population.

As per the expert opinion, the countries which have less than 90% of routine immunization coverage are more exposed to measles.

As per the report published in Daily Dawn dated 26 February 2018 which states the Federal Ministry has decided to arrange by September, this year 35 million measles vaccine doses for children under the age of 5 years.

If the 35 million measles vaccine doses are made available by September this year. This will provide coverage to the maximum number of children below the age of 5 years and start age is from 9 months to 15month old baby. But still, it is a big question mark? Can program will be effectively implemented. Secondly, the successes story for measles vaccine is very much dependent on its proper storage under the cold chain maintenance and to properly vaccinate the children of 9month or older and the second dose needs to be given at the age of 4-6 years,

WHO report also mentioned that total 10,540 tests for measles were conducted in Pakistan in the year 2017 and 6,494 (62%) cases were confirmed measles cases. In 2016 a sample of 5,871 lab test was conducted out of which 2,846 (48%) were confirmed suffering from measles.

Measles Is highly contagious and transmittable infection which is caused by the virus.

To provide maximum protection to the children, the authorities should have planned intervention at the start of the year 2017. Within the year of 2018 and from the month of April and onward chances of its outbreak will increase.  The reason cited the measles virus will be more active during the changing climate, hot and humid weather.

If we look at the current situation children are not provided cover during their initial nine months, this is in addition to the children who are not covered or administered the vaccines at all.

As the first quarter of the year, 2018 is about to be completed and many cases of measles have been reported especially from Badin, Nawabshah and Karachi it’s all six districts within Sindh, Pakistan, below are reproducing few reports published within this year such as:

  • In Badin district, Measles outbreak kills six children. Reported on 6th March 2018 by Samma web desk.
  • It also reported on 1st Sunday of the March, within Nawabshah three infants’ death were reported and five children were hospitalized in critical condition. Despite that children were administered the anti-measles vaccine. it is a question mark?
  • Express Tribune on 26th February 2018 published an article having topic “Measles crisis in Pakistan is worst in the world”. World Health Organization reported country on the verge of measles calamity or devastation. Increase in cases of measles from 2016 to this year of 2018. This represents an awful situation within Pakistan due to weak surveillance.
  • The News, daily on 18th March 2018 reported: “The outbreak of measles claimed 27 life so far during the year 2018 in Sindh province.” Till to date of this year within Sindh 1500 suspected cases have been reported.

Measles Cases and its Outbreaks within the USA as reported by CDC, 24th February 2018

Below table reflects measles cases recorded per year from 2010 till to February 2018.

USA Measles cases year wise

Year    Measles cases

2010                  63

2011                220

2012                  55

2013                187

2014                667

2015                188

2016                  86

2017                118 cases as of 30th December 2017 the cases reported are preliminary

2018                  13 reported until 24th February 2018 still 10 months to go.

The source is: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), Notifiable Diseases and Mortality Tables

Most of the people who suffer from measles were not vaccinated.

Measles cases are reported during this current century around the globe, which includes USA, UK, Europe, Asia Pacific, within SAARC countries and Africa.

In the USA, above we have reported measles cases from the year 2010 until the end of February 2018.

Measles outbreak in Italy during the year 2017

On 14th September 2017 report of was release by A Filia. It is reported measles outbreak in Italy during 2017, more than 4,400 measles cases were reported from January to August 2017. Nearly 88% of the cases were not vaccinated. The maximum sufferer were infants below one-year-old and 7% of cases occurred among healthcare workers.

Death reported in Europe from measles in 2017-16.

Within Europe during last year number of death reported from measles outbreak has increased by fourfold and reached a figure of 35, as reported by Europe regional headquarter of WHO. During the year 2017 total number of 21,315 measles cases were recorded in Europe as compared to 5,273 cases of measles recorded during the year 2016.

BBC reported measles outbreak in England in the year 2018,

On 18 January 2018, the public health reported measles outbreak within five English regions, this may be due to the wide outbreak within Europe. Though the risk of its outbreak is low in the UK, this can trigger. The authorities and government are keeping the vigilant check on this issue.

The best way to protect your loved ones from measles and who are above 9 months is to give MMR jab to protect them from measles if they have not been immunized.

Article written by Mahmood Hussain for Baby First Pakistan website, Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn and other popular social media


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