Health Department says measles outbreak has spread to other parts of Luzon and Visayas

Skin of a patient who has a three-day old measles. Photo: Wikipedia/public domain

News of a measles outbreak is going from bad to worse.

The Department of Health (DOH) today announced that the outbreak is present in other areas in Luzon island and as well as in parts of the Visayas.

This follows the DOH’s announcement yesterday that there was an outbreak in Metro Manila and Central Luzon.

The DOH said in a press statement released today that there was an alarming increase of cases in the Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, and Bicol region.

In the same press statement, DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III said: “We are expanding the outbreak from Metro Manila to the other regions as cases have increased in the past weeks and to strengthen surveillance of new cases and alert mothers and caregivers to be more vigilant.”

The DOH declared a measles outbreak in Metro Manila after a 547 percent increase in cases nationwide occurred in 2018, as compared to 2017, a video on its Facebook page shows.

The DOH said there were fewer children getting vaccinated due to the controversy surrounding the anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia, which Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) chief Persida Acosta blamed for the deaths of hundreds of children. However, Duque said there was no link between Dengvaxia and the deaths of the supposed victims.

Department of Justice secretary Menardo Guevarra today defended Acosta from critics, saying she was just “doing her job” when she alleged that schoolchildren died of Dengvaxia, reported GMA News.

Duque said today in a press conference that vaccination is still the best way to prevent measles. “The safest prevention is still through vaccines. Measles is a vaccine-preventable disease,” Rappler quoted him saying.

The health secretary added that the DOH is conducting house-to-house visits for their immunization program.

Below are the measles cases that the DOH recorded as of Jan. 26. They were announced to the public today and sent to Coconuts Manila through email.

  • CALABARZON: 575 cases, nine deaths
  • National Capital Region (NCR): 441 cases, five deaths
  • Region 3: 192 cases, four deaths
  • Region 6: 104 cases, four deaths
  • Region 7: 71 cases one death
  • MIMAROPA: 70 cases, no deaths
  • Region 1: 64 cases, two deaths
  • Region 10: 60 cases, no deaths
  • Region 8: 54 cases, one death
  • Region 12: 43 cases, no deaths

The data shows that the number of cases in NCR, where Metro Manila is, was at 441 as of Jan. 26. Yesterday, DOH Undersecretary Eric Domingo said that there were at least 861 suspected cases in NCR as of Feb. 2.

The DOH said measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus. It is transferred from one person to another through sneezing, coughing, and close personal contact. Symptoms include coughs, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rashes that last more than three days.

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