Measles Outbreak Declared in Philippine Capital, Nearby Areas

Grant Boone
February 9, 2019

"You know, the local government units should be involved here, in terms of [their] contribution to this program, and in terms of [their] actions, and even in terms of accountability".

"I think it is important that we rebuild trust and pass on the message very clearly that Dengvaxia is unrelated to the very well-established vaccination programs that have been running in the country for many years and without any doubt has generated huge benefits for those who received vaccination", he added.

"With regard to the government's immunization program under the DoH, the DoH has been directed to boost communication efforts on the importance of vaccination, with the active involvement of government media entities like the PCOO", he said.

Marlyn M. Convocar, DOH 6 (Western Visayas) director, said that measles isolation rooms were imposed in DOH-run hospitals in the region, such as the Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital in Bacolod City; the Don Jose Monfort Medical Center Extension Hospital in Barotac Nuevo, Iloilo; the Western Visayas Sanitarium in Santa Barbara, Iloilo; and the Western Visayas Medical Center in Mandurriao, Iloilo City.

"We received reports of increasing measles cases as early as the second week of January that's why we immediately activated our Outbreak Response Immunization plan wherein immunization teams were sent out to administer vaccines to children age six months to five years old", she said.

The number is way too high compared with 20 cases in the same period in 2018.

According to the Department of Health, the number of unvaccinated children has risen by over 100,000 in the past year.

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The Department of Health (DOH) has encouraged government hospitals in Western Visayas to dedicate isolation rooms for measles cases.

"Our children are protected so there is no cause for concern", said a statement by the Federal Health Ministry.

The health department in the Philippines announced the measles outbreak and blamed it on low vaccination rates among children.

The vaccine's maker, Sanofi, set off a panic when it said a new analysis showed Dengvaxia could lead to more severe symptoms for people who had not previously been infected with dengue.

Measles, caused by a virus that infects the respiratory tract, can be passed through direct contact and through the air.

As of February 1, a total of 965 children have been innoculated throughout the city.

Vaccination for rotavirus, Japanese encephalitis, PCV and HPV were included under the coverage of RA 10152.

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