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February 20, 2017



Sporadic cases of measles being reported at allied hospitals

Children missing out on measles vaccine under EPI must be vaccinated immediately



Almost all private and public healthcare facilities including allied hospitals in town have been receiving sporadic cases of child patients with measles and complications associated with it however the number is still small.

Reporting of sporadic cases from this region of the country is alarming because the chances of an outbreak of the infection is still intact as weather conditions from February to April in the region are considered as the most suitable for transmission of measles.

Data collected by ‘The News’ has revealed that two of the three allied hospitals in town including Holy Family Hospital and Benazir Bhutto Hospital, which are operating paediatrics departments, have been receiving five to 10 patients with measles or its complications daily on average.

According to experts, the possibility of an epidemic of the infection cannot be ruled out because the existing weather conditions are suitable for transmission of the highly contagious infection.

However, to avoid a possible spread of measles in the region, it is a must to stress on the need of vaccination of each and every child against measles, said Associate Professor of Paediatrics at Rawalpindi Medical College Dr. Tariq Saeed when contacted by ‘The News’ on Sunday.

He added the situation is well under control at the moment however there is a need of extra care by parents as chances of measles spread are still there.

It is worth mentioning here that all patients of the infection being reported at the teaching hospitals were found unvaccinated.

Measles is a highly contagious infection of the respiratory system. It is caused by a virus. Its symptoms include severe coughing, sneezing, runny nose, high fever, watery red eyes and full-body rash. The measles virus reduces the immunity and children who have had measles -- especially those who are undernourished -- may die of pneumonia, diarrhoea and encephalitis later on.

Dr. Tariq said in case a child is diagnosed with measles, he or she should be isolated at home and should not be in contact with other children for at least a week. If the child patient is school-going, the child should stay home and should not be sent to school for at least one week for the sake of other children as they may contract infection from the patient, he said.

Studies reveal that measles is spread through coughing or sneezing either through aerosol transmission or through contact with fluids from an infected person’s nose or mouth. It is believed that up to 90 per cent of people without immunity sharing living space with an infected person may catch the infection.

Children who have missed out vaccine against measles under Expanded Programme on Immunisation must be administered measles vaccine under catch-up activity, said Dr. Tariq.

He, like other health experts, said the best prevention against measles is administration of measles vaccine that is administered to children twice, first at the age of nine months and then at the age of 15 months. Those who have missed out measles vaccine under EPI can be administered measles vaccine at any time in life.

All those who have not been administered measles vaccine under EPI must get the first dose of vaccine against measles immediately to save themselves from the infection, said Dr. Tariq.