The Department of Health (DOH) has declared a measles outbreak in Western Visayas (WV).
The region had 166 suspected cases of measles with three deaths from Jan. 1 to 26, 2019, data from the DOH-6 showed.
In the same period last year, the health department recorded 16 confirmed measles cases.
Dr. Mary Jane Juanico, medical coordinator of DOH-6’s Child Health Program, attributed the increase to the low immunization turnout for measles due to the Dengvaxia scare.
For the whole year of 2018, the DOH-6 recorded 245 confirmed measles cases with four deaths. Of the figure, 32 were from Iloilo province.
The outbreak was also declared in Central Visayas, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, and National Capital Region (NCR).
Juanico urged parents to have their children immunized against measles.”They have nothing to be afraid of.”
Dr. Susan Mercado, a former DOH undersecretary and official of the World Health Organization Regional Office for the Western Pacific, also assured the public that the vaccine is safe.
“It’s 95 to 98 percent effective… Napakaligtas po ng bakuna na iyan,” she said in an interview over radio station DZMM.
“Wag na po nating hintayin na mahawa, lalo na kung naririnig n’yo po na may mga kapitbahay kayo, mayroon kayong mga kapamilyang nagkaroon ng tigdas,” she added.
Measles, according to the DOH, is caused by a virus that infects the respiratory tract. The disease can be transferred from person-to-person by sneezing, coughing, and close personal contact.
Symptoms of measles include fever, reddening of the eyes, cough and colds, and red rashes.
The disease’s complications include severe diarrhea, pneumonia, encephalitis, blindness, and even death.IMT