DOH lauds increase in immunization response; measles death hits 70
Marje Pelayo • February 11, 2019 • 1621
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) lauded the return of public trust in government immunization program especially amid the ongoing outbreak of measles infection in the country.
“Ako po’y natutuwa na ang mga magulang po ngayon mukhang nagbabago na ang kanilang pananaw patungkol po sa ating immunization program ng DOH,” said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.
Chona Palen did not hesitate to have her daughter vaccinated since the outbreak of measles was declared.
Chona said she wants to make sure her children are protected especially the youngest who is nine months old.
“Talagang nag-aalala po talaga ako sa mga anak ko kasi tatlo iyong anak ko. Itong bunso talagang gusto ko talagang pabakunahan,” she said.
Based on the latest data from DOH, measles infection in the country reached to 4,302 cases and 70 deaths from January 1 to February 9, 2019.
The highest number of infection remains in the National Capital Region (NCR) with 1,296 and 18 deaths, followed by Calabarzon with 1,086 cases and 25 deaths; Central Luzon with 481 cases and 3 deaths; Western Visayas with 212 cases and four deaths; and Northern Mindanao with 189 cases and five deaths.
Most of the patients were children aged four and below, with 66% having no vaccination history since birth.
Duque explained that health experts do not recommend measles vaccination to infants 0 to five months old.
It can only be given to children from nine months old and above, and a booster when they reach 12 to 15 months old.
“Kasi mura pa iyong kanilang immune system,” Duque said.
“Pangalawa, meron kasing maraming pag-aaral na lumalabas mayroon silang natural immunity, not really immunity but a protection —immunoglobulin (IGG). From the maternal circulation pumupunta sa bata as a protective antibody,” he added.
Duque said that the only solution when the patient is that young is to isolate the infant infected with measles.
“Iyon lang ang solution natin, isolation lang talaga kung mayroon na and let the body take care of its own,” the DOH secretary said.
The DOH assured that the country has enough supply of measles vaccine this outbreak season.
Thus, it encourages parents to bring their children to the nearest health center for immunization before its too late. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Mai Bermudez)
The National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI) has turned its gymnasium into an alternative ward for leptospirosis patients.
This is to accommodate patients with leptospirosis and be provided with immediate treatment for the deadly disease.
The Department of Health (DOH) said the recent rains that caused flooding had contributed to the increase in the number of leptospirosis patients in Metro Manila alone.
To date, the DOH has recorded 106 fatalities and more than 900 cases of leptospirosis. 300 of which are from the NCR.
“It’s really a problem because you know the environmental, sanitation and hygiene do affect the health of our people because the local government, for example, do not do their efficient garbage collection, so certainly it raises the risk of the populace,” DOH Sec. Francisco Duque added.
This, however, is still low compared to what was recorded last year in the last 2 years.
The DOH then urged the public to maintain cleanliness in their respective surroundings to prevent leptospirosis. (with details from Mai Bermudez) /mbmf
The National Capital Region (NCR) has recorded more than 11,000 dengue cases from January to August 10 this year.
This is 33% higher than what was recorded in the past five years.
“It’s starting to rise and just like the other regions that began with the alert levels, naging epidemic level na sila [they’ve reached the epidemic level]. Pwede pa ring sumipa ang dengue. Kaya hindi ho tayo pwedeng magpahinay-hinay [Dengue case can still go up. That’s why we should not be complacent],” Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque said.
The cities in the NCR where dengue cases have spiked include Paranaque, Malabon, Taguig, Makati, and Mandaluyong.
The DOH clarified that no medicine, supplement, or vaccine had been proven to cure dengue.
The health department also supports the move of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to fund the distribution of food supplements which may help increase an individual’s platelet count to avoid dengue.
“Wala namang gamot ang dengue. Wala ring bakuna. At kung meron man sila ng inaalay na makakagamot, hindi po totoo iyan. Ito po ay food suppmement lamang at kinakailangan merong FDA certificate of product registration [There is no medicine for dengue. No vaccine either. And if there are some who offer something that’s supposed to cure dengue, it’s not true. It’s just a food supplement and it needs to have FDA certificate of product registration],” Duque added.
The health official then reminded the public to clean their surroundings and eradicate dengue-mosquito breeding areas through the 4 o’clock habit using the 4S strategy:
Search and Destroy
Seek Early Consultation
Support Space Spraying
This is to further prevent the number of dengue cases in Metro Manila to further exceed the health department’s alert threshold. (from the report of Aiko Miguel) /mbmf
“The vaccines that we are mentioning is not a solution or a silver bullet for the ongoing outbreak. We are open to any discussion with the health authorities to see what is needed, what do they need for the future,” Zinsou said.
In February this year, the FDA revoked the certificate of product registration of Dengvaxia.
Sanofi already filed an appeal two weeks ago and the DOH will release their decision on the issue on August 19.—AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)
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