Regional News

Anti-measles campaign gears up

measles-campaign

The rise of summer temperatures in Karachi has generated a surge in efforts to control spread of diseases in the city, particularly measles. Karachi has been actively involved in promoting measles campaign, with Police Hospitals and Stations now giving anti measles vaccines to police officers and their families. The campaign is a response to reporting of more than 5,000 cases in 2013, which led to deaths of 151 persons during treatment.

This year so far, up to 133 children in Sindh alone have been infected with measles of which 14 have already died.  The Sindh Minister of Health believes that the numbers are higher than these and urges the need to create awareness drives within the province. The campaign is currently running in 19 districts and 1120 union councils of Sindh, extending the project outside the borders of Karachi.

The most common signs and symptoms of the disease include fever, rash, runny nose, pink eye and cough. The campaign was inaugurated on May 20th by Iqbal Mahmood, I.G. Sindh. The campaign was previously delayed due to delays in arrangement. However, now the vaccinations are being conducted for police personnel as well as the residents in the nearby vicinity. The campaign includes vaccines for 10 other diseases apart from measles, bearing in mind the potential rise in these diseases due to hot temperatures. The 12 day campaign aims to address vaccination concerns of 1.4 million children aged between 6 to 10 years, as stated by EPI deputy project manager Dr. Durray Naaz.

Pakistan however, is not the only country reporting high measles cases. Washington is also troubled by 288 measles cases reported so far since the start of the year, the highest in 20 years. Authorities put the blame on American travelers who went abroad and brought the virus back to their homeland. A primary location identified is Philippines, which has also been struggling with measles outbreaks since last year. Global prevalence of measles is 20 million persons among which around 120,000 die each year.

June 2, 2014

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