In 2019, the Central government adopted the goal of measles and rubella elimination by 2023 anticipating that the 2020 goal could not be reached. Earlier, the goal was to eliminate measles and rubella by 2020. However, due to variety of reasons it had been delayed.

 

What is Measles?

  • Measles is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus.
  • Measles is caused by a virus found in the nose and throat of an infected child or adult.
  • Who is at risk?
      • Unvaccinated young children are at highest risk of measles and its complications, including death. Unvaccinated pregnant women are also at risk.
      • Any non-immune person (who has not been vaccinated or was vaccinated but did not develop immunity) can become infected.
      • Measles is still common in many developing countries – particularly in parts of Africa and Asia.

 

What is Rubella?

  • Rubella is a contagious infection caused by a virus. It is best known by its distinctive red rash.
  • It is also called German measles or three-day measles.
  • This infection may cause mild or no symptoms in most people.
  • However, it can cause serious problems for unborn babies whose mothers become infected during pregnancy.

 

What is the difference between Rubella and Measles?

  • Rubella is not the same as measles, but the two illnesses share some signs and symptoms, such as the red rash.
  • Rubella is caused by a different virus than measles, and rubella is not as infectious or as severe as measles.

 

Are Measles and Rubella Preventable?

  • Both measles and rubella can be prevented by just two doses of a safe and effective vaccine.
  • Over the past two decades, the measles vaccine is estimated to have averted more than 30 million deaths globally, as per the World Health Organisation’s statistics.

 

India’s Plan to Eliminate Measles & Rubella (MR)

  • The Measles virus is one of the world’s most contagious human viruses that kills more than 1,00,000 children every year globally.
  • Meanwhile, Rubella is a leading vaccine-preventable cause of birth defects, according to the WHO.
  • During 2010–2013, India conducted a phased measles catch-up immunisation for children aged 9 months–10 years in 14 States, vaccinating approximately 119 million children.
  • Mission Indradhanush was launched in 2014 to ramp up vaccinating the unvaccinated population.
  • During 2017–2021, India adopted a national strategic plan for measles and rubella elimination. During the same period, the Government introduced rubella-containing vaccine (RCV) into the routine immunisation programme.