Measles cases skyrocketed to 5,120 in just a year – DOH
by Marje Pelayo | Posted on Wednesday, February 6th, 2019
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
by UNTV News | Posted on Thursday, March 14th, 2019
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
by UNTV News | Posted on Monday, February 18th, 2019
(Reuters) – A measles outbreak that has stricken at least 225 people in New York state since October began with a traveler who visited Israel during the Jewish high holidays and returned to a predominantly ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighborhood of Rockland County.
A similar pattern unfolded three months later and nearly 3,000 miles (4,800 km) away when a person who visited Eastern Europe returned to a community with strong ties to a local church group in Vancouver, Washington. More than 50 people fell ill there.
In both instances, U.S. travelers picked up measles in foreign countries where the highly contagious disease was running rampant and brought it back to places where vaccination rates were too low by U.S. public health standards, setting off the worst outbreaks seen in those states in decades.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says New York’s outbreak marks the highest tally of imported cases since measles was declared eradicated in the United States in 2000.
The two outbreaks appear to be winding down, health officials say, after concerted efforts to pinpoint the origins and isolate and inoculate those who were exposed but unprotected and educate parents who had resisted vaccines.
The disease has spread mostly among school-age children whose parents declined to get them vaccinated. Most cited philosophical or religious reasons, or concerns – debunked by medical science – that the three-way vaccines against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) could cause autism, authorities said.
New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said another key factor was mere “complacency” in an age where the potential ravages of measles are unfamiliar to parents who came of age after the vaccine was introduced in 1957.
In Rockland County, the suburb north of Manhattan accounting for the bulk of cases, the state has vaccinated 15,000 children since the outbreak began there last autumn, Zucker said. The Brooklyn borough of New York City was another hot spot.
Still, officials say the measles crisis in New York and Washington states offer a lesson about the importance of maintaining a minimum level of “herd” immunization against dangerous, preventable diseases such as measles.
It also highlights the global nature of disease control, in which a hot spot of infection in one country can ignite a distant outbreak in an immunization-weak spot of another, said Dr. Scott Lindquist, Washington’s top epidemiologist.
Here are some key facts about measles and immunization, according to public health experts and the CDC.
WHAT IMMUNIZATION RATES ARE IDEAL?
A 95 percent rate of immunization is required to provide sufficient “herd” protection in a given population. Rates as low as 60 percent were found in parts of New York where measles spread, Zucker said.
HOW BAD CAN MEASLES GET?
Symptoms typically include high fever, cough, runny nose and watery eyes, followed by tiny white spots inside the mouth and a red rash that can cover the body.
Serious and potentially fatal complications, especially in young children and pregnant women, can include pneumonia and swelling of the brain. Ear infections occur in about 10 percent of children with measles and can lead to permanent hearing loss.
One rare but fatal complication is subacute panencephalitis (SSPE), which can attack the central nervous system seven to 10 years after a person has recovered from measles.
HOW CONTAGIOUS IS MEASLES?
Measles is spread through casual contact with the virus, which can linger and remain infectious in the air of an enclosed space for up to two hours after it is breathed out by someone carrying the disease. The rate of transmission from an infected person to another individual nearby who lacks immunity is about 90 percent.
ORIGINS OF LATEST OUTBREAKS?
Health authorities say the strain of the virus identified in Washington state matches the one circulating widely in Ukraine since last year. The New York outbreak has been tracked back to separate flare-ups of measles in Israel and in Eastern Europe.
Reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Editing by Bill Tarrant and Peter Cooney
by Marje Pelayo | Posted on Friday, November 30th, 2018
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)
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