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ORIGINAL ARTICLE Table of Contents   
Year : 2011  |  Volume : 36  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 109-113
Mass measles rubella immunization campaign: Bhutan experience

1 Department of Internal Medicine, Royal Rattanak Hospital, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
2 Vaccines and Biologicals, WHO-SEARO, New-Delhi, India
3 Department of Pediatrics, JDWNR Hospital, Thimphu
4 Department of Pathology, JDWNR Hospital, Thimphu
5 Public Health Laboratory, Thimphu
6 Department of Public Health, Ministry of Health, Bhutan

Correspondence Address:
Bhakta R Giri
Royal Rattanak Hospital, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

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Source of Support: This article is a description of a public health activity. The source of funding was inbuilt in the project, supported by the UNICEF, WHO, HealthTrust Fund, Bhutan and the Royal Government of Bhutan. It did not require separate source of funding, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0970-0218.84128

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Background: Bhutan has attained universal child immunization since 1991. Since then, immunization coverage is maintained at high level through routine immunization, periodic National Immunization Days, and mop up campaigns. Despite high immunization coverage, every year, significant numbers of clinically suspected measles cases were reported. Objective: To assess the cause of continuing high "suspected measles cases" and take appropriate public health measures. Materials and Methods: Febrile rash outbreaks occurred in several districts in 2003. These episodes were investigated. Simultaneously, a retrospective data search revealed evidence of congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) in the country. Results: Thirty five percent of the tested samples were positive for rubella but none for measles. There were evidences of the presence of CRS. This was discussed in the annual health conference 2004, amongst health policy makers and district heads who recommended that a possibility of inclusion of rubella as an antigen be looked into. A nationwide measles and rubella immunization campaign was conducted in 2006 followed by introduction of rubella vaccine in the immunization schedule. Conclusion: Febrile rash can be caused by a host of viral infections. Following universal measles immunization, it is pertinent that febrile rash be looked in the light of rubella infections. Following the introduction of rubella vaccination in the national immunization schedule, there has been significant reduction of febrile rash episodes, cases of rubella, and congenital rubella syndrome.

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