At least 25 killed as deadly measles outbreak hits Philippines

  • At least 25 killed as deadly measles outbreak hits Philippines

At least 25 killed as deadly measles outbreak hits Philippines

The Department of Health (DOH) cited a 550 percent rise in the number of patients infected with the disease from January 1 to February 6, from the same period past year, and said the figure was likely to rise. These are cities of Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas, Valenzuela, Quezon City, Marikina, Pasig, Taguig, Makati, Manila, Mandaluyong, San Juan, Pasay, Parañaque, Las Piñas and Muntinlupa, and the lone municipality of Pateros.

Dr Gundo Weiler, World Health Organisation representative to the Philippines, said immunisation rates were far below the target of 95 per cent and continuing to fall in the light of the Dengvaxia scare.

Duque also said the DOH was expanding the declaration to other regions in Luzon and the Visayas to strengthen surveillance of measles as cases have increased in the past weeks. "We also go to schools to conduct immunization and there are also times that teachers bring the children to the health centers", he added.

The Provincial Health Office in Negros Occidental is on a massive measles immunization drive following a significant increase in the number of cases in the province. It is transferred from person-to-person by sneezing, coughing, and close personal contact. Initial symptoms usually include a fever, cough, runny nose and inflamed eyes.

Aside from bronchopneumonia, other complications include diarrhea, middle ear infection, encephalities or swellling of the brain, malnutrition and blindness which may lead to death.

Measles is unsafe because it is highly contagious, Dr. Llorin explains. "At the same time, if you get infected, you can pass it on to a lot of people".

Measles can spread easily through coughs and sneezes.

The Department of Health is advising parents to be vigilant and vaccinate their children, especially since 2.4 million Filipino children are unvaccinated and are at risk of contracting the highly contagious disease, CNN Philippines reported.

A study past year (2018) by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine said public confidence in vaccines in the Philippines plunged to 32 per cent from 93 per cent in 2015 because of the government's "highly politicised" response to the Dengvaxia scare. There were reports of having a second episode of measles, but these are rare and isolated cases.

The Country had recently carried out successfully the largest ever measles vaccination campaign for children across Pakistan.

Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus.