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Rubella, pneumonia now in vaccine cover

  Jan 06, 2017

Rubella, pneumonia now in vaccine cover

What is Rubella?
Rubella is an acute, contagious viral infection. While the illness is generally mild in children, it has serious consequences in pregnant women causing foetal death or congenital defects known as congenital rubella syndrome (CRS). The rubella virus is transmitted by airborne droplets when infected people sneeze or cough. Humans are the only known host.
 
What is pneumonia?
Pneumonia is a form of acute respiratory infection that affects the lungs. The lungs are made up of small sacs called alveoli, which fill with air when a healthy person breathes. When an individual has pneumonia, the alveoli are filled with pus and fluid, which makes breathing painful and limits oxygen intake. Pneumonia is the single largest infectious cause of death in children worldwide. 
 
Why these are in news?
Pushing forward in its drive against vaccine-preventable diseases, the government is set to introduce two new vaccines -against pneumonia and rubella -under its universal immunisation programme in early 2017.
 
The move assumes significance as it is expected to reduce deaths by almost 20-25% among children under five years of age. India's current under-five mortality rate is around 45 deaths per 1,000 live births.
 
While India has the highest number of pneumonia and diarrhoea deaths among children with nearly 3 lakh children dying in 2016, Rubella is considered a major reason behind the birth of children with deformities. Official estimates show pneumonia alone accounts for 8-10% of the under-five mortality.
Currently, the government's immunisation programme provides cover against around 10 vaccine preventable diseases. The fast ramping up of the programme along with its coverage has been acknowledged globally.
 
Diseases Protected by Vaccination under Immunization program: Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus, Polio, Tuberculosis, Measles, Hepatitis B, Japanese Encephalitis (commonly known as brain fever), Meningitis and Pneumonia caused by Haemophilus Influenza type b.