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Topics Covered: Issues related to health.


What to study?

For prelims and mains: Measles- causes, symptoms, spread and vaccines.

Context: As per UNICEF and WHO, around 117 million children worldwide risk contracting measles because dozens of countries are curtailing their vaccination programmes as they battle COVID-19.

What’s the issue?

Currently 24 countries, including several already dealing with large measles outbreaks, have suspended widespread vaccinations.

The coronavirus pandemic, which has necessitated many prevention measures including strict lockdowns, has kept infants from getting routine immunisation services from some other diseases such as polio, yellow fever and cholera.

About Measles:

What is It?

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It remains an important cause of death among young children globally, despite the availability of a safe and effective vaccine.

Spread: Measles is transmitted via droplets from the nose, mouth or throat of infected persons.


  • Initial symptoms, which usually appear 10–12 days after infection, include high fever, a runny nose, bloodshot eyes, and tiny white spots on the inside of the mouth. Several days later, a rash develops, starting on the face and upper neck and gradually spreading downwards.
  • The most serious complications include blindness, encephalitis (an infection that causes brain swelling), severe diarrhoea and related dehydration, and severe respiratory infections such as pneumonia.


Severe measles is more likely among poorly nourished young children, especially those with insufficient vitamin A, or whose immune systems have been weakened by HIV/AIDS or other diseases.


Routine measles vaccination for children, combined with mass immunization campaigns in countries with low routine coverage, are key public health strategies to reduce global measles deaths.

Preventive efforts:

Under the Global Vaccine Action Plan, measles and rubella are targeted for elimination in five WHO Regions by 2020. WHO is the lead technical agency responsible for coordination of immunization and surveillance activities supporting all countries to achieve this goal.

What is Rubella?

Also called German Measles, Rubella is a contagious, generally mild viral infection that occurs most often in children and young adults.

Insta Links:

Prelims Link:

  1. Difference between Measles and Rubella?
  2. What is Global Vaccine Action Plan?
  3. Difference between contagious and non contagious viral infection?
  4. How vaccination works?
  5. Composition of UNICEF.

Mains Link:

Where does India stand in battle against Measles? Do you think India can achieve its 2020 target? Discuss the status of MR in India and the challenges it has been facing in eliminating the same.

Sources: the Hindu.