Measles Vaccine as a Lifesaver

The analysis of the deaths attributed to measles shows that their number decreased by 79% in 2014. The beginning of the century is marked by 546,800 deaths, now the number has shrieked to 114,900.

Image Credit: sergei telegin /

The WHO published information proving that 17.1 million people have been saved. Thanks to the measles vaccination, infants’ mortality has also declined, and it gave hope for the achievement of goal number four, described in the Millennium Declaration.

What is measles and how to recognize it

The measles virus enters the body through the mucous membrane of the respiratory tract and conjunctiva. It takes 8-12 days from the time of infection entering the body to the first appearance of the symptoms of the disease. In some cases, this period can continue about 28 days.

  • At the beginning of the disease, there are symptoms similar to common cold: an increase in general malaise, lethargy, headache, the child becomes whiny, refuses to eat. A typical appearance of the patient: swollen face, redden, watery eyes. Most common complaints are a runny nose as well as a dry cough. The temperature rises to 39-40C and does not decrease, despite the antipyretic measures.
  • On day 1-2 of the disease, small whitish spots appear on the mucous membrane of the cheeks (this finding helps the pediatrician diagnose measles before the common rash appears on a child’s body). You can learn more about different ways for recognizing this disease here.
    Next stage of the disease is characterized by the gradual spread of rash: first behind the ears, on the face and neck, the next day the rash arises on the trunk and hands, and on the third day appears on the legs of a child.
  • Rashes are small red spots, they can merge into large spots, between which a healthy skin is visible. During the spread of the rash, the temperature continues to rise, the cough increases. In the first days of the disease, some children develop severe measles pneumonia.

Measles vaccine campaigns

The vaccination campaign has recruited about 220 million kids and teens. The initiative that fights against measles and rubella all over the world has managed to immunize more than 28 countries, enlisting the support of the Governments. The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization  acted as an active sponsor and organizer of the process.

All four regional territories reported the decline in the number of diseases. These regions are under the control of the World Health Organization, six of them in total. The campaigns ensured that two million children received a supplementary measles vaccine.

Congo and Nigeria experienced a decrease in the number of measles cases in the African region, from 171,000 in 2013 to less than 74,000 sick people in 2014 in Europe and Southeast Asia.

Campaigns for immunization have also been able to save countries such as Bangladesh, DRC, Pakistan, United Republic of Tanzania, Yemen, Vietnam. Here is more detailed information on the subject.

Unfortunately, these countries have suffered many losses from this terrible disease. The number of child deaths here reached 100,000. However, it is worthwhile to think about activating forces and directing them to fight measles by vaccination. Thus, tragedy can be prevented.

The way to save somebody’s life

In your local clinic you will most likely be offered MMR vaccination. True, this combined vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella has gained a lot of controversy around since its development in 1971.

You have a right to choose which vaccines will be administered to your child, but keep in mind that it is also your decision and your responsibility. You can go to one of the numerous vaccination centers, where you will be given a more detailed and proper advice.

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