MORE DEATHS | DOH: Over 4,000 cases of measles and 70 deaths this year

2 months ago

FEBRUARY 11, 2019 — Measles cases have climbed to 4,302 this year with 70 deaths nationwide, according to the Department of Health.

Most of the patients were children aged one year and below who lacked measles vaccination.

Measles is caused by a virus transmissible through air that if left untreated, could result in diarrhea, ear infection, pneumonia, encephalitis, malnutrition, blindness and death.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III has seen the rise in cases in his recent visits to hospitals in Quezon City and Pasig.

At the Rizal Medical Center in Pasig alone, four have died and 25 are currently infected.

So-called “measles lanes” have already been set up in the hospital to assist patients infected with the disease.

Meanwhile, people suspected of contracting measles are quarantined and observed in isolation rooms.

At the Payatas Health Center in Quezon City, at least 40 parents lined up to have their children vaccinated against the disease.

These are the residents who have heeded the warnings of health officials, with Metro Manila recording the most measles cases with 1,296, followed by Calabarzon with 1,086 cases, and Central Luzon with 481 cases.

Health officials are also monitoring the Bicol region, Mimaropa and Eastern Visayas where cases of measles have recently increased.

Duque said the department could tap the Philippine Red Cross to provide tents to accommodate more patients.

The health secretary said fear of vaccination among parents was brought about by the dengvaxia controversy, where a number of children allegedly died from the anti-dengue vaccine.

Measles cases increased nearly four-fold in the last two years when the country’s vaccination average rate also sunk from 70% to 40%.

Duque said his department will also look into the alleged lack of supply of measles vaccines from 2014 to 2017.