Mumbai: After a measles outbreak last year, the city seems to be in the grip of the disease again. As compared to 2022, there is a rise of five per cent in the number of cases recorded till June 30. Last year, 4,609 suspected cases were tallied while 577 were confirmed, which is 12 per cent of the entire figure.
As per the statistics provided by the civic health department, 1,423 suspected cases have been detected in the past six months; of which 244 (17.14 per cent) are confirmed. Meanwhile, this year, so far, four children have died of measles compared to 11 fatalities in 2022. Notably, the city has not reported a single case in the last three days and except for a few patients none of them required hospitalisation.
Officials claim of having situation under control
Conceding that the percentage of cases is slightly higher as compared to last year, a senior health official asserted that they have curbed measles across the city with proper detection and inoculation drive. “There is no need to worry as cases are under control except for the areas such as Govandi, Malad, Dharavi and Andheri East, from where the outbreak started. We are getting two-four patients per month from these areas complaining of fever and body rash,” said the official.
Last year, there was an outbreak of measles in M-East (Govandi) ward where three children of a family living in Rafi Nagar died. The fatalities prompted the BMC to undertake aggressive surveillance as cases surged across the city. As the number of patients soared, a central team of health officials had visited Mumbai and instructed the BMC to widen the ambit of the vaccination drive and even include children who have skipped their doses.
However, health experts have raised concerns over the health department for 'not being active' to curb the ailment. “The civic body needs to be alert all the time as viruses or diseases can't be predicted. Last year's outbreak, too, was the result of the BMC's shortcoming. Despite having adequate staff and knowledge about the disease, it fails to act in time until someone dies or things go out of hand. In the prevailing situation as well, the city is witnessing measles cases but they are happy that numbers have significantly dropped,” said a health expert.
Former BMC Executive Health Officer Dr Mangala Gomare said they had taken several measures for controlling the outbreak of measles in each ward. For which they had to take help from local people to create awareness among parents as most of them were hesitant in giving measles doses to their children which led to outbreaks.
“There is no doubt that the number of new patients has come down drastically. There are only eight active outbreaks in the city, but the cases are very few. However, health officials should monitor cases until all children are vaccinated,” she said.
Measles, which is caused by a virus in the paramyxovirus family, is a highly contagious respiratory disease. According to the World Health Organisation, an outbreak is a cluster of at least five cases from the same area.
As per database
Suspected cases in 2022
Suspected cases till June 30
Deaths in 2022
Deaths till June 30
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