Measles cases skyrocketed to 5,120 in just a year – DOH
Marje Pelayo • February 6, 2019 • 3743
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) urges parents to get their children vaccinated as measles cases in the country has skyrocketed by 547% in just one year.
Based on record by the DOH Epidemiology Bureau, the number of measles infection in the country has risen from 791 cases from January to December 2017 to a staggering 5,120 cases in the same period in 2018.
The increase, the agency reported, was high in the National Capital Region (NCR) with 1,094 cases, an increase by 12,058% from 2017.
The second highest number of individuals confirmed with measles infection was in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) with 645 (33% increase from 2017); and in Region IVA with 621 (4,677% increase from 2017).
These figures cause alarm for the DOH that’s why it encourages the public to help “stop the number from increasing” further and protect the children from measles by availing of the government’s free measles vaccine.
Parents are advised to bring their child to the nearest health center or call DOH hotline 711-1001 to 1002 for further information about the anti-measles immunization program. – Marje Pelayo
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)
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) onWednesday relaunched its school-based immunization program in a bid to have some 9 million children catch up on missed vaccinations this year.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the program aims to immunize students from kindergarten to Grade 7 with the measles and rubella vaccines. Students will also be given booster doses of tetanus-diptheria vaccines.
Duque led the vaccination of some children in Signal Village National High School in Taguig City on Wednesday morning (July 3).
The DOH chief said all students will undergo a quick health assessment and review of their vaccination status, stressing that only students with parental consent will be immunized.
In a speech, Duque called on parents to have their children vaccinated to protect them against diseases. He also cited the low response rate on the government’s immunization program due to reduced public trust following the dengvaxia controversy.
Although public response and trust in national immunization program has been notably increasing in Metro Manila in the past few months, Duque admitted, much is still needed to be done.
“Mababa pa rin, so iyan po mababa pa rin. That’s why we still need to aggressively pursue our National Immunization Program,” he said.
The DOH’s relaunching of its school-based immunization program comes after the declaration of a measles outbreak in February 2019. The outbreak status has yet to be lifted since its declaration in Metro Manila, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Western Visayas and Central Visayas.
According to Duque, they are targeting to reach 95% vaccination coverage this year to prevent repeated declaration of disease outbreaks due to the proliferation of false information.
“May iba umiiyak dahil namatay isa, dalawang anak dahil lang sa ayaw magpabakuna dahil nga bunsod ng maling impormasyon na kumakalat sa mga komunidad at minsan hindi naman talaga naippliwanag ng sapat.. ang nagiging resulta ay ang kaaawa-awang bata na nagkakaroon ng komplikasyon gaya ng measles,” he added.
The health official further emphasized the importance of availing free immunization in relation to the implementation of the Universal Health Care Law.
Duque said the school-based immunization program for this year will run until September. (with details from Aiko Miguel)
The Department of Health has given a total of 862,237 measles vaccines to 862,237 children in Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon (Calabarzon).
According to the Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit’s report, this number of vaccinees from January 1, 2019 to March 11, 2019, is just around one-half (50.9%) of the total population of children in the region.
Cavite recorded the highest number of cases with 235,604 (52.10%); followed by Laguna, 189,433 (52.53%); Batangas, 108,898 (34.09%); Rizal, 214,253 (61.55%) and Quezon 114,049 (47.35%), according to Regional Dir. Eduardo Janairo.
Based on DoH-Calabarzon’s account, the region has recorded at least 5,041 cases of measles, 104 of which have died due to complications.
Janairo assured that they will continue to scour the region, as well as the far-flung communities to provide vaccines.
From January 1 to March 7, the DOH has recorded a total of 18,553 measles cases nationwide with 286 deaths. — Freema Salonga-Gloria /DOH
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