Two weeks ago, the World Health Organisation published an alarming report that measles cases across the world rose 300 percent in the first three months of 2019 compared to the same period last year. “While this data is provisional and not yet complete, it indicates a clear trend;” said the United Nations health agency. Nepal has made significant strides in vaccination but measles outbreaks in some districts have become a cause for concern.
Indicates a clear trend
Measles is a contagious diseases which is entirely prevent with a two-dose vaccine. Multiple officials the Post spoke to said measles outbreaks are report in Morang; Dang and Kapilvastu districts in April alone. Sunita Kunwar; an immunisation supervisor in Dang, told the Post over the phone that measles virus has been see in several children of Ward 4 of Rajpur Rural Municipality in the district.
“We started an immunisation campaign on Monday. It will continue until all the children in the area and nearby villages in wards 3 and 5 are vaccinate;” said Kunwar. Gyan Bahadur BC, chief of the Provincial Health Office in Morang, saya the disease is see in Barangha village of Ward 7 of Sunbasti Municipality. He says 11 measles cases are confirm in laboratory tests within a month; which is sufficient to declare an outbreak.
Provincial Health Office
Health workers declare an outbreak of disease if the number of infections exceeds five in an area. Phanindra Nath Tiwari, an immunisation supervisor in Kapilvastu; also confirmed measles outbreak in wards 3, 5, 7, 8 and 9 of Krishnanagar Municipality of the district. According to him, 18 measles cases are confirm.
Measles was endemic in Nepal and an average 90,000 cases were recorded every year from 1994 to 2004. Routine measles vaccination began in the country in 1979 with three districts. The campaign was expanded nationwide after 10 years. The government provides two doses of measles vaccines to children at nine months and 15 months free of cost from health facilities across the country.
Nepal had committed to eliminating measles infection within 2019, but going by the frequent occurrence of cases; officials say the country may miss the deadline. To declare measles eliminated; the number of its cases should be less than five in every 1,000,000 population or no cases throughout the year.
Throat of infected persons
Measles is transmit through droplets from nose, mouth or throat of infected persons. Early symptoms; which usually appear 10-12 days after infection; include high fever, a runny nose, bloodshot eyes and white tiny spots inside the mouth. Several days later, a rash develops in the face, upper neck and other parts of the body.
Asked about the outbreak in some districts, Dr Jhalak Sharma; chief of the Child Health and Immunisation Section of the Family Welfare Division under the Department of Health Services, said; “All children aged nine months to 15 years of the disease-hit areas will be immunised with an extra shot of measles vaccine.” “Over 13,000 children in the disease-hit areas will get an additional dose of vaccine during the special campaign,” said Sharma.