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Measles Cases Continue To Soar


March 19, 2019

The number of measles cases between January 1 and March 14 has reached 21,396, with 315 deaths officially reported through the routine surveillance system of the Department of Health.

This represents a 384 percent increase in the number of cases recorded for the same period in 2018.

At least 60 percent of the cases involved patients who were not vaccinated.

The National Capital Region posted the highest number of cases at 4,266 with 85 fatalities, followed by Calabarzon (Cavite-Laguna-Batangas-Rizal-Quezon) at 4,401 cases with 87 fatalities, and Region 3 at 3,409 cases with 52 fatalities.

Region 9 (Zamboanga Peninsula) had the least number of cases at 265, with zero deaths recorded.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque, for his part, said the measles outbreak may wane in April as the government intensified its vaccination campaign.

Earlier, the Anakalusugan party-list called on the DOH to step up its information dissemination and immunization campaign to arrest the spread of the measles outbreak across the country.

“We need a whole-of-government approach to mitigate this outbreak. We need the cooperation of all stakeholders, including local government units and barangay health workers who are our frontliners in our effort to encourage Filipinos to get vaccinated,” Anakalusugan party-list nominee Mike Defensor said.

The health department posted an immunization rate of only 39 percent last year, leaving more than 2 million children without measles vaccination.

Measles, which is a vaccine-preventable disease, may cause complications such as pneumonia and diarrhea and can lead to death if left untreated.

Immunization and Vitamin A supplementation for 9-month old children remain the best defenses against measles.