Published: Fri, February 08, 2019
Medical | By

DOH raises nationwide alert on measles outbreak

DOH raises nationwide alert on measles outbreak

There have been 1,813 measles cases and 26 deaths in Philippines as of January 26, according to the Department of Health Epidemiology Bureau. In addition, 861 suspected cases have been reported in the Metro Manila area during the first month of the year.

The new National Goodwill Ambassador for United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) made this statement following the declaration of measles outbreak in several regions by the Department of Health (DOH).

Meanwhile, other regions are under "tight watch" including Regions 1, 2, 3, 4A, 4B, 5, 6,7, 8, 9, CAR, CARAGA. "Our measles cases increased, not only in Bacolod City, not only in Negros Occidental but all the Visayas areas", he said in a radio interview. "We also go to schools to conduct immunization and there are also times that teachers bring the children to the health centers", he added.

One reason for this is that many parents have been reluctant to have their children immunised at government health centres, following complications related to a dengue vaccine, Dengvaxia. It is transferred from person-to-person by sneezing, coughing, and close personal contact.

Measles can be very risky for small children and babies. Most susceptible are the young population, especially children who are malnourished, the elderly, those who are pregnant, and those who are immunocompromised-for instance, you have cancer and you're undergoing chemotherapy, bone marrow transplant.

He adds, "What's more unsafe about measles is it's contagious even before the rash appears".

Measles can spread easily through coughs and sneezes.

A study a year ago (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. Adults who have not yet been vaccinated with MMR when they were young and who don't have a history yet of measles infection, are advised to get at least a dose of measles vaccine.

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

Measles, locally known as "tigdas", is a highly contagious viral disease that is transmitted via droplets from the nose, mouth or throat of infected persons.

He advises everyone, "Try to avoid people who are sick, and if you are sick, it's better to stay at home so you won't infect others".

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