DOH declares measles outbreak in NCR - Philippines

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

The number of measles cases reported in the region have risen dramatically from 2017-in 2018, the DOH EB recorded 3,646 measles cases in the region against the 351 cases in 2017.

In a news conference, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei Nograles on Friday said the government might face legal issues in court if it implemented mandatory immunization for children.

"The measles vaccine is safe and effective and had been successfully used in the Philippines for more than 40 years now", UNICEF Philippines Deputy Representative Julia Rees said.

The Calabarzon region to the south of Manila has seen a jump of 2,538 percent, with 575 reported cases so far in 2019 - compared with 21 in 2018.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the government should seriously consider mandatory vaccination of children following the outbreak of measles in the National Capital Region (NCR), Central Luzon, Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon), and Central and Western Visayas.

City Health Officer Dr. Verdades Linga said the City Health Department has already taken steps to arrest the increase in measles cases even before the declaration of an outbreak last Wednesday. "I can not be blaming her for that", he said.

The health department reported that vaccine coverage rate plunged to 40 per cent past year (2018) from 70 per cent in 2017.

The 10 confirmed cases were from Antique (one each from Hamtic, San Jose and Patnongon towns), Iloilo (two from Cabatuan, one each from Janiuay and Maasin towns), and Negros Occidental (one each from Himamaylan town, Cadiz City and Sagay City).

But she reminded parents yesterday that immunity from diseases is "the best inheritance" they could leave their children.

The DOH also reported 575 cases and nine deaths in Calabarzon, up from 21 cases and no deaths from January 1 to January 26, 2018.

"Learning from the UNICEF family about the outbreak of the measles, you know, this is why it's very important to have proper immunization", Curtis said during an event by UNICEF.

Convocar said they also prioritize the implementation of "measles fast lanes". Richard Gordon said in a statement.

The UNICEF also vowed to support the Philippines in fighting measles by ensuring that vaccines are available.

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.

One reason for this is that many parents have been reluctant to have their children immunised at government health centres, following complications related to a dengue vaccine, Dengvaxia.

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