February 21, 2019

Measles outbreak declared in Manila

09 February 2019, 08:13 | Randall Craig

Measles outbreak declared in Philippines

A Filipino child suffering from measles is treated at a government hospital in Manila Philippines on Feb 7 2019

"We are declaring an outbreak as cases have increased in the past weeks and to strengthen surveillance of new cases and alert mothers and caregivers to be more vigilant", Mr Duque said in a statement.

QUICK-SPREADING VIRUS A father waits for his measles-stricken child to be admitted to the pediatric ward of San Lazaro Hospital in Sta.

Twenty-two people recorded dead as a result of a measles outbreak in the Manila metropolitan area and other Philippines regions.

Four hundred forty one cases were reported in metropolitan Manila, which spans 16 cities and one town, a 1,125 per cent increase from previous year. Overall, cases jumped from 791 in 2017 to 5,120 a year ago.

Public support to the program might have dipped because of the Dengvaxia anti-dengue vaccine controversy, Juanico said.

There have been 1,813 measles cases and 26 deaths in Philippines as of January 26, according to the Department of Health Epidemiology Bureau.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III blamed the high number of cases on low vaccination rates among children due to a scare triggered by a controversial government dengue vaccine programme in 2017.

The health department reported that vaccine coverage rate plunged to 40 per cent past year (2018) from 70 per cent in 2017.

This prompted the DOH to suspend its immunisation programme, which was launched by President Benigno Aquino III.

As early as December past year, health experts warned against a possible outbreak of measles in the Philippines due to the declining trust in vaccines in the wake of a controversy that hounded a dengue immunization program in 2017.

Linga also called on the parents of children who are already showing symptoms of flu and fever to immediately bring their children to the nearest health center for a check-up.

The QC Health Department is likewise tracing "active defaulters" or children who have missed their scheduled measles immunization.

The disease's complications included diarrhea, middle ear infection, pneumonia (infection of the lungs), encephalitis (swelling of the brain), malnutrition, blindness which may lead to death.

"When one in the family has measles, everyone will get measles, so we are urging the public, especially those who have not been immunized, to go to their health centers to get vaccinated", Villafuerte added.

He said the Department of Health is also expected to work closely with the Presidential Communications Operations Office in raising public awareness about the importance of vaccines to ensure public health.

But she reminded parents yesterday that immunity from diseases is "the best inheritance" they could leave their children.

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