Measles Outbreak Declared in Philippine Capital, Nearby Areas

The Philippines fights the outbreak of measles in the capital region

The Philippines fights the outbreak of measles in the capital region

The Department of Health said it has seen a 550 percent increase in the number of recorded measle cases in the capital city during the first month of 2019 compared to the year before, ABS-CBN News reported.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles disagreed, saying he did not believe compulsory immunization was needed.

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

"At least you should have a sizable number or segment of the population that will be protected so that you begin to build a wall around the people who have not been vaccinated for a myriad of reasons, may it be religious or customary", he said.

She attributed the outbreak to low coverage of the DoH's measles immunization program in Region 6 past year.

"I think it might be questioned before the courts somehow", he said.

Duterte earlier urged parents not to let the Dengvaxia controversy stop them from having their children vaccinated to fight diseases.

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.

In the eastern part of central Philippines, the uptick has been as high as 5,000 per cent, from just a single case a year ago to 54 as of Jan 26.

The outbreaks have prompted concern over the 2.4 million unvaccinated children in the country.

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

The Department of Health (DOH) has encouraged government hospitals in Western Visayas to dedicate isolation rooms for measles cases.

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. There is an outbreak of measles in the region.

The UNICEF also vowed to support the Philippines in fighting measles by ensuring that vaccines are available.

The health department and public health advocates blamed the measles outbreak on a massive health scare over Dengvaxia, the once-promising dengue vaccine introduced by the government three years ago.

Dr. Alma Corpin said that many parents had become scared of availing of free measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella (MMRV) vaccination program since the dengvaxia scare in 2017 when the national government suspended the dengue vaccination program due to reports that the vaccine would allegedly cause severe dengue among those prior exposure to dengue.

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