Measles is back

With out­breaks re­ported from across the world, measles' erad­i­ca­tion by 2020 seems dif­fi­cult | |

Down to Earth - - HEALTH - KUN­DAN PANDEY VIBHA VARSH­NEY

NARAINPUR KANHAULI, a small vil­lage in east­ern Ut­tar Pradesh’s Jaunpur district is in the throes of an epi­demic; one that is killing chil­dren. Hushna Mo­ham­mad’s two-and-a-half-year-old daugh­ter Lucky was one of the vic­tims. Her family was hop­ing that tra­di­tional reme­dies would cure her of the rashes. But she passed away on April 16. The family was try­ing to cope with the loss when Lucky’s cousin, one-and-a-half-year-old Khushi, daugh­ter of Rashid Mo­ham­mad, de­vel­oped the same symp­toms and had to be rushed to the district hospi­tal. She died on April 18. Bitty, two-year-old daugh­ter of Jan Mo­ham­mad, Hushna’s brother, was the next vic­tim. At least eight chil­dren of this ex­tended family have been af­fected by the dis­ease in the last month. But this is not the only family suf­fer­ing from the dis­ease. Among oth­ers is six-year-old Tuba, daugh­ter of Aseem Mo­ham­mad. The child, known for her chirpi­ness in the com­mu­nity, was ly­ing qui­etly on a bed when the Down To Earth team went to Narainpur on April 30. Her mother Hadeesu com­plained that the child was nei­ther eat­ing nor drink­ing. The family had taken her to the district hospi­tal but doc­tors re­ferred her to the Ba­naras Hindu Uni­ver­sity in Varanasi. On May 3, Tuba also died.

These chil­dren be­long to the marginalised Mus­lim Nat com­mu­nity. Five chil­dren of the pow­er­ful Ya­dav caste in the area took ill too but sur­vived.

The area’s Chief Med­i­cal Of­fi­cer (cmo), Ravin­dra Ku­mar says that the dis­ease is measles, a vac­cine-pre­ventable dis­ease caused by an air­borne virus of the paramyx­ovirus family. When asked, the vil­lagers said that no­body came to vac­ci­nate the chil­dren. How­ever, Bhag­wanti Ya­dav, lo­cal health worker, said the vil­lagers did not al­low vac­ci­na­tion de­spite ef­forts by med­i­cal staff. “They hide the chil­dren when we come,” she said. When Rashid Mo­ham­mad was asked the rea­son, he said that the vac­cine would make their chil­dren sick and im­po­tent. cmo Ku­mar said that

Hadeesu's six-year-old daugh­ter Tuba died of measles on May 3 in Narainpur Kanhauli vil­lage in Jaunpur district of Ut­tar Pradesh SRIKANT CHAUD­HARY / CSE

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