Tamil Nadu to move towards elimination of measles, rubella 

Tamil Nadu is set to move towards the elimination of measles and rubella. It will soon launch measures to achieve the elimination of the two vaccine-preventable viral diseases.

T.S. Selvavinayagam, Director of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, said the important strategies are attaining and sustaining more than 95% coverage of both doses of measles and rubella vaccines at all levels and maintaining high quality fever rash surveillance in all districts.

“The Non-Measles Non-Rubella (NMNR) discard rate after confirmation by the laboratory is the key indicator of MR surveillance sensitivity that must be at least two per one lakh population in all districts. We need to focus on high-risk areas and dropouts between antigens/vaccines,” he said.

“Using measles as a tracer, outbreaks are often the first sign of larger immunity gaps and signal a need for strengthening the health systems. Measles is a leading cause of under-five mortality globally,” he said.

He added that rubella infection was mild in children but could cause serious complications such as abortion, still birth and multiple congenital anomalies called congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) in newborns. CRS causes a significant socio-economic burden on affected families and societies, he said.

“Patchy cases [of measles and rubella] do occur. We want more cases to be identified, that is all fever with rashes cases. There may be an initial rise in cases but that is the way we can move towards elimination,” Dr. Selvavinayagam added.

He said, “With Tamil Nadu’s capacity and infrastructure, including human resources, we feel that it is the correct time to plan and move towards measles and rubella elimination.” A two-day consultative meeting was held with the Government of India and the World Health Organization, along with Deputy Directors and senior officials of the Health Department. “Tamil Nadu has done well in improving the Full Immunisation Coverage from 76.1% to 90.4% as per National Family Health Survey 4 and 5, but this must improve further to bring down mortality and morbidity due to vaccine-preventable diseases,” he said.

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Printable version | May 28, 2022 11:39:36 pm |