Karnataka: 3 toddlers die, 1 hospitalised after getting measles vaccine in Belagavi


A sheer case of medical negligence has been reported from Belagavi district of Karnataka, where three toddlers died after they were administered MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine. 

Karnataka Health and Family Welfare Minister K Sudhakar informed that an auxiliary nursing midwife (ANM) and a pharmacist have been suspended and a report has been sought from the district health officer and a state-level immunisation programme officer.

“I received the report claiming cause of death to be septic shock syndrome but I want to know if there’s a failure in cold chain management of vaccine storage and handling,” the state health minister said.

He further said, “The responsible officers will be suspended pending a departmental enquiry. We are investigating if there was a problem in the formulation of the vaccine as well. An emergency meeting has been called tomorrow (Tuesday, January 18) to discuss this issue.”

The deceased children have been identified as Pavitra Hulagur (13 months) and Madhu Umesh Karagundi (14 months) of Bochabal village, and Chetan Pujari (16 months) of Mallapur village. Health officials said one more child is undergoing treatment at the hospital. 

The health department official said a routine monthly vaccination programme was being carried out at a primary health centre at Salahalli in Ramdurg taluk last week. On Wednesday (January 12), around 21 children were vaccinated of which four children were administered MMR. Within couple of hours these four children had started vomiting and passing loose motion, the health officials said..

One of the four children died in the Ramdurg taluk hospital on the same day, another passed away after returning home the next day. 

The health condition of the other two children started to worsen after which they were referred to Belagavi Institute Of Medical Sciences (BIMS). One of them died at the intensive care unit (ICU) on Saturday. The fourth child has since then recovered.

Health officials said they had never seen such reactions before. The health minister said there could be a possibility that the toddlers have died due to septic shock. 

After the incident, the health department has completely stopped administering MMR vaccines and samples have been sent for laboratory testing.


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