Measles On The Rise In Mumbai, Claims 13

| Updated: November 24, 2022 11:30 am

Mumbai and its surrounding areas are staring at a measles outbreak. Until Wednesday, the city had reported 233 confirmed cases, with 13 deaths in the last month. This is a huge jump from the last few years — 10 cases and 1 death in 2021; 29 cases and no death in 2020; and 37 cases and 3 deaths in 2019.

As many as 51 cases were reported in Malegaon, 37 in Bhiwandi, 28 in Thane, 17 in Nashik, 15 in Thane Rural, 11 in Akola, 10 each in Nashik and Yavatmal, and nine each in Kalyan-Dombivali and Vasai-Virar.

Of the 13 deaths, nine were from Mumbai while the remaining were from the city’s outskirts – one from Nalasopara and three from Bhiwandi. While three were in the age group of 0-11 months, eight were in the 1-2 years group, and two in the 3-5 years group.

Seven pockets of Mumbai – Dharavi, Govandi, Kurla, Mahim, Bandra and Matunga – have emerged as hotspots. Officials blamed the spike in cases on a gap in vaccination due to Covid. According to the national immunisation programme, the measles vaccine has to be administered in two doses – at 9 and 15 months of age.

“Amid Covid-19, the vaccination got impacted. We have around 20,000 children who didn’t get the measles vaccine. Now, we are tracking all these children and holding vaccination camps on priority,” said Dr Mangala Gomare, executive health officer, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).

While the civic body has ramped up vaccination, data showed that till October, when the outbreak started, only 41 percent of the eligible children had been vaccinated in Mumbai.

Vaccine hesitancy has turned into the biggest hurdle for ASHA and health volunteers. The civic body has now roped in local politicians and religious leaders to convince parents to get their children vaccinated. The BMC has also roped in doctors with knowledge of Urdu to spread awareness in areas like Govandi, which has a significant Muslim population.

While measles is a highly contagious viral disease that mostly affects younger children, at least two adults (above 20 years) and older children above 10 years have also reported the disease this time.

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