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Health authorities asked for prevention of measles infection.

ISLAMABAD -- National Institute of Health (NIH) Tuesday asked the health care authorities for further strengthening the level of preparedness in prevention and control of measles infection.

According to an official of NIH, the authorities have also been asked to timely diagnose, manage the cases and undertake standard prevention and control measures.

He said that they have been advised for creating awareness and further improve vaccination coverage to protect citizens from measles. He added measles outbreaks have been reported from few districts of Sindh, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Islamabad Capital Territory.

He said that measles is an acute viral respiratory illness and is still a common and often fatal disease in developing countries. In 2015, there were 134,200 measles deaths globally which means about 367 deaths every day or 15 deaths every hour.

He said that measles in developing countries has resulted in high attack rates among children younger than 12 months of age. Measles is highly communicable,with greater than 90% secondary attack rates among susceptible persons, he added.

The official said that despite the existence of a safe, effective and inexpensive measles vaccine, it remains leading vaccine preventable killer of children worldwide and it has been recommended to fully implement the WHO and UNICEF comprehensive immunization strategy for sustainable measles mortality reduction.

He said that the disease is more severe in infants and adults than in children, adding, the case fatality rate in developing countries may be as high as 25%.

He said that measles vaccination resulted in a 79% drop in measles deaths between 2000 and 2015 worldwide. He added measles can easily be prevented through two doses of the measles-containing vaccine at nine months with another dose at 15 months.

He added during measles campaign and outbreaks, the priority should be to immunize children of age six months to five years old, regardless of vaccination status or history of disease.

Dr Wasim Khawaja from Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) said that measles is caused by virus of the genus Morbillivirus of the family paramyxoviridae.

He added the disease is caused by airborne droplet spread, direct contact with nasal or throat secretions of infected persons and less commonly by soiled items with nasal and throat secretions.

He said that measles may be transmitted between four days before and after the rash onset. Maximum communicability occurs from onset of prodromal phase through the first 3-4 days of rash, he added.

Dr Khawaja said that it is characterized by fever, followed by cough, runny nose, or conjunctivitis. He said that measles illness during pregnancy results in a higher risk of premature labor, spontaneous abortion and low-birth weight infants.

He said that complications of measles are most common among children younger than five years of age and adults 20 years of age and older. He added college and university students, healthcare personnel, and international travellers are at increased risk for measles.

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Publication:Balochistan Times (Baluchistan Province, Pakistan)
Date:Jul 5, 2017
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