Patna: After polio, Bihar has decided to seek eradication of measles by launching a special vaccination drive to cover nearly 13.5 million children from Monday, an official said.

State Health Secretary Sanjay Kumar, who is also executive director of Bihar State Health Society, on Sunday said the state will now focus to fight against measles by increasing routine immunization.

"We are launching a measles catch-up campaign to vaccinate 13,433,835 children above 9 months and below 10 years of age with measles vaccine," he told media persons in Patna at a media interaction organised by Unicef.

Sanjay Kumar said the 21-day special campaign was to immunize more than 80 percent of the target age group, if not 100 percent. He admitted that Bihar is one of the 14 Indian states where measles vaccine coverage is below 80 percent.

Noting Bihar has remained polio-free for over two years, thanks to the state government's commitment supported by development partners in the polio eradication programme, Sanjay Kumar said: "Now, the focus is to work to increase rate of vaccination against measles in the state.

"Measles is a highly infectious disease caused by virus and spreading from person to person through coughing and sneezing. According to Unicef's health expert Ghanshyam Setty, it kills nearly 100,000 children every year in India.


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