Friday, 22 February, 2019

Measles outbreak declared in Philippines

Measles outbreak declared in Philippines More measles cases detected in Philippines - Xinhua | English.news.cn
Johnnie Parks | 09 February, 2019, 08:14

An outbreak of measles has been declared in Metro Manila, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Western Visayas, and Central Visayas, which came following a dip in immunization coverage previous year following the controversy on anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia. READ: "Measles under control" In San Lazaro Hospital alone, at least 248 children and 21 adults are being treated for measles, according to its spokesperson.

In particular, Duque pointed out that about 1.8 million children have not been vaccinated nationwide due to the '"scare" arising from the use of the controversial Dengvaxia vaccine used in 2016 by then president Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino in its campaign to end the mosquito-borne dengue disease.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque told reporters on Thursday (Feb 7) measles cases in Manila and in seven other regions had risen more than five-fold to 1,500 so far this year from just 250 a year ago. There were 192 cases and four deaths in Central Luzon, up from 32 cases and no deaths during the same period in 2018; 104 cases and three deaths in Western Visayas, up from 16 cases and no deaths in 2018; and 71 cases and one death, up from two cases in 2018 in Central Visayas. Overall, cases jumped from 791 in 2017 to 5,120 previous year.

The DOH earlier admitted that their vaccination coverage rate had dropped to 60 percent following the controversy surrounding Dengvaxia with parents refusing to have their children vaccinated for fear that they would suffer adverse side effects.

Data from DOH Region 6 showed that from January 1 to February 2 this year, cases of suspected measles in Region 6 reached 220 of which 10 have so far been confirmed by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine.

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Dr. Mary Jane Juanico, medical coordinator of the regional health office's Child Health Program, said they still have to determine if the deaths were caused by measles.

"To the parents, let's not take the health of our children for granted". Measles is an airborne disease that infects the respiratory tract, and its complications include severe diarrhea, pneumonia, blindness, and even death.

President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the Department of Health to launch a "vigorous" campaign to promote vaccination following the declaration of a measles outbreak. "I can not be blaming her for that", he said.

As early as December previous 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.

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