DOH blames Dengvaxia controversy for 300% increase in measles cases in PH
Marje Pelayo • November 30, 2018 • 4331
MANILA, Philippines – Measles cases in the country have already reached to more than 17,000 from January to November this year.
Record shows a staggering increase of 367% as compared to the same period in 2017.
According to the Department of Health (DOH), the increase is due to the public’s lack of trust and confidence in the government’s immunization programs stemming from the Dengvaxia controversy.
“There had been certain regions that had been affected by the continuing Dengvaxia issue, the Dengvaxia controversy…There is a significant drop in the confidence of our people in the immunization program of the DOH from 92% to measly 33% ; ang laki ng bagsak talaga,” said Health Secretary Francisco Duque.
According to the DOH, since the Dengvaxia immunization became a controversy in the country, many Filipinos now fear getting vaccinated.
Filipinos have also avoided even the trusted vaccines which had long been in use and proven effective.
This is also the reason why measles outbreak which resulted in six death cases was recorded in Zamboanga last February.
In October this year, measles cases in Bicol have also increased to 300%.
On Wednesday (November 28), 18 death cases were recorded in Sarangani province bringing the total to 84 in the province alone.
Most of those affected are between the ages of 4 months to 40 years old; majority of them were females.
The DOH already created an investigating team to monitor the measles cases in Sarangani province. The cases were identified to have originated from the B’laan tribe where vaccination is never practiced.
According to the Duque, these areas are also conflict- affected which is the reason why health services cannot easily reach the residents.
“It’s also NPA-infested and so this is really one of the challenges under the universal health care. This is something that we need to prioritize,” Duque said.
Meanwhile, more than 200 children were immunized in the affected areas to prevent them from being infected with measles.
Common signs and symptoms for suspected measles typically include fever, runny nose, cough, red eyes, and sore throat followed by a rash that spread all over the body. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Aiko Miguel)
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) is eyeing to achieve 30,000 daily tests for novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) by the end of the month as it works to ramp up the country’s testing capacity.
The DOH set the target after it finally attained its first target to conduct 8,000 COVID-19 tests in a day.
On Sunday, May 10, the agency reported it has conducted 8,637 tests in one day. This is, however, 10 days past its target date of April 30.
According to Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, the tests were done on 158,176 unique individuals.
She explained that one of the causes of the delay was the slow processing of samples after the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) had to scale down its operations in April when over 40 of its medical staff contracted COVID-19.
The RITM has since returned to normal operations after most of its personnel recovered from the disease.
So far, the Philippines has 26 accredited laboratories capable of detecting the strain of coronavirus strain that causes COVID-19.
Vergeire said they are eyeing to open additional testing facilities to reach its target of 30,000 daily tests.
This way, the country will be able to improve efforts on contact tracing, isolation and treatment of COVID-19 patients to effectively curb the spread of the disease.
“Hindi pa po tapos ang laban ng World War C (COVID-19) sa bawa’t bagong impormasyon bawa’t bagong teknolohiyang nadidiskubre upang malabanan ang COVID-19 tayo’y dapat maging manatiling alerto dahil ang bawa’t bagay na nagagawa natin ay mayron buhay na mailigtas,” Vergeire said.
To date, the Philippines has recorded 11,086 confirmed coronavirus infections, with 726 deaths and 1,999 recovered patients. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Aiko Miguel)
The world is backsliding in the fight against measles, which can disable or kill, especially children, with a record number of cases recorded up to August only since 2006 and nearly three times as many cases than in July 2018 at that time, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday (August 30).
The biggest outbreaks of the highly contagious disease — one person with measles can spread it up to 18 non-immunized other people — are raging in the Democratic Republic of Congo (155,460 cases), Madagascar (127,454) and Ukraine (54,246) it said.
Europe has lost ground also, with four countries stripped off their “measles-free” status in 2018 — Albania, Czech Republic, Greece, and Britain, the WHO said.
The United States has recorded 1,215 measles cases across 30 states in its worst outbreak since 1992, federal health officials said on Monday.
Nearly 365,000 cases have been reported globally this year, the highest figure since 2006, according to the U.N. Health Agency, noting that they represent only a fraction of the 6.7 million estimated cases annually.
A vaccine-preventable disease, measles caused an estimated 109,000 deaths in 2017, figures for 2018 won’t be known before November.
Weak health systems, a lack of vaccines in some areas, and complacency towards the disease, leading people to believe that since it has been eliminated there is no need to get vaccinated, are behind the surge, the WHO says.
Trust in vaccines — one of the world’s most effective and widely-used medical products — is highest in poor countries but weaker in wealthier ones where skepticism has allowed outbreaks of diseases such as measles to persist, a global study found in June.
In 53 countries of Europe, 90,000 measles cases were recorded in the first half of this year, more than that for all of 2018, according to the WHO. (REUTERS)
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