The Maharashtra government on Thursday formed an 11-member task force to tackle the rising cases of measles in the state. The task force will be led by the state’s former Director General of Health Department Subhash Salunkhe.

The team will consist of paediatricians, an epidemiologist, representatives from the World Health Organisation, the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund and officials of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation and National Institute of Virology Pune, reported the Times of India.

Maharashtra has so far reported 724 confirmed cases of measles this year, while 15 patients have died due to the disease, according to The Indian Express. Of these, 12 deaths have been recorded in Mumbai.

On Thursday, Salunkhe told The Times of India that the situation of the disease outbreak in the state was equivalent to a public health emergency. “Principles developed for Covid-19 have to be kicked in for measles now,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Maharashtra government on Thursday also started administering an additional dose of a vaccine to prevent measles and rubella in Mumbai. At least 1,162 children were inoculated on the first day of the vaccination drive, according to PTI.

The first dose of the measles vaccine is given nine months after birth and the second at 16 months.

On November 24, the Centre had suggested Maharashtra, amongst other states, to consider administering an additional dose of the vaccine to prevent measles and rubella to children aged nine months to five years in vulnerable areas.

Read: As measles outbreak sweeps Mumbai, health workers struggle to overcome vaccine fears