Measles Outbreak: 22 Die In Philippine’s Regions

A Filipino child suffering from measles is treated at a government hospital in Manila Philippines on Feb 7 2019

Health workers around the Philippines have gone out of health centers to administer free measles vaccines to children in their communities, after a spike in cases was observed in parts of the country.

Tumimbang also said they are focusing on information dissemination so people will be aware of the effects of measles, especially on children.

The announcement came a day after the DOH officially declared a measles outbreak in Metro Manila, also called the National Capital Region (NCR), after it has noted a sharp increase in the number of measles cases.

There has been "a big, big difference", he said.

Meanwhile, other regions are under "tight watch" including Regions 1, 2, 3, 4A, 4B, 5, 6,7, 8, 9, CAR, CARAGA.

DOH earlier declared a measles outbreak in Metro Manila following the 550 percent increase in patients contracting the virus from January 1 to February 6 this year compared with the same period last year. The move was welcomed by presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo Thursday, even as he acknowledged that Acosta may have scared the public from getting immunized.

Health experts consider measles a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus that is transferred from person to person through sneezing, coughing and close personal contact.

"Parents, caregivers tell us they are afraid to have their children vaccinated because of Dengvaxia", said Dr De Guzman.

Public health advocates opposing the programme warned at the time that the vaccine could lead to deadlier strains of the disease.

In late 2017, French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi, which licensed Dengvaxia, disclosed that the vaccine, in rare cases, could indeed backfire: If children who never had dengue are vaccinated and later become infected, the vaccine may provoke a much more severe form of the illness.

That triggered investigations in Congress.

While the government has made a concerted effort to eradicate the disease, parents' fear over a recent dengue fever vaccine have caused immunization rates to drop, Vice President Leni Robredo said.

Partial report of CHD-6's immunization coverage showed that only 61 percent of babies, who were supposed to have their first dose at nine months old, had been vaccinated.

On Thursday (Feb 7), Dr Duque sought to decouple the government's immunisation programme from the Dengvaxia fiasco.

"I hope concerns like this should not be politicized because the lives of the children are at stake here", she said.

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