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Measles cases 5x higher compared to last year – DOH

MANILA, April 27 ------ The country has logged 1,817 cases of measles from Jan. 1 to April 13, which is five times higher compared to those reported in the same period last year, a health official said. Data from the Department of Health (DOH) Epidemiology Bureau showed that 374 cases of measles-rubella were logged from Jan. 1 to April 15 last year. “Hindi siya dahil sa init, dahil siya sa measles virus and it can happen any time of the year,” DOH Spokesperson Albert Domingo said in a Bagong Pilipinas Ngayon interview over PTV4. “Cases increase when there is increase in number of gatherings among children especially during summer,” he explained. 


Earlier, the World Health Organization said rising measles cases is a global concern and not exclusive to the Philippines since unvaccinated children in many countries increased because of lockdowns during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Bangsamoro Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) has recorded 48 percent of the total number of measles cases nationwide, resulting in a declaration of an outbreak of the disease in the area. 


The DOH has implemented the measles response outbreak immunization in the BARMM since April 1. The department aims to vaccinate 1.3 million eligible children against measles nationwide. Since measles is caused by a virus and not by bacteria, Domingo said it calls for symptomatic treatment or cure for the symptoms which include high fever, cough, runny nose, and watery eyes. Rashes appear about three to five days after the first symptoms, he added. “What’s alarming, among kids, measles can become pneumonia which is fatal, and another case encephalitis which is a medical term for swelling of the brain or problem in the brain structure. We don’t want these to happen because the survival rate of these among children is very low,” he said. 


Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine may be given subcutaneously to children with a minimum age of 12 months. Two doses of MMR vaccine are recommended with the second dose usually being given when the child reaches four to six years old. However, it may be given at an earlier age with at least a four-week interval after the first dose. 




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