Measles cases have been on the rise lately, especially in Mumbai, with more than 12 deaths over the last month. While the government has been working to bring the situation under control, doctors and health experts have also been advised to take all the necessary precautions in order to stay protected. Measles is basically a virus that infects small children majorly and causes rashes on the skin. Its common symptoms include high fever, cough, runny nose, and watery eyes. In the wake of a rise in measles cases among children, the Centre has also advised states to administer one additional dose for measles and rubella to all children of 9 months to 5 years in vulnerable areas.
There is no specific treatment for measles infection; only preventive measures like vaccines can be taken to stay protected. But how many doses of vaccine are suitable? Dr. Yogesh Kumar Gupta, consultant-pediatrics at Fortis Hospital reveals that in our country, in the immunization schedule, three doses are given which are MMR at 9 months, 15-16 months and 4-5 years. He also explains that it is NOT necessary that only children get measles. Adults can also get the disease with the varied presentation if they are not vaccinated or they didn't have any natural immunity after natural infection. Though the risk is less, they can get infected.
If taken vaccine, is there a possibility of still getting measles?
Dr Yogesh Kumar Gupta explains that if someone has taken two or more doses of the vaccine, they are considered to be immune to measles. One dose will probably give 90-93% immunity and two doses around 97-98% immunity.
But if you've already had measles, can you get it again? Dr. Gupta says if you had confirmed measles in past then you develop antibodies to it and stay protected unless in certain conditions like immunodeficiency or nephrotic syndrome where the level of protection may fall off.
Meanwhile, increased numbers of measles cases are being reported from certain districts of Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Kerala, and Maharashtra. The Centre has advised states to earmark wards and beds for effective caseload management of measles in dedicated health facilities for timely transfer and treatment of such children.