More measles cases detected in Philippines


The Philippines on Wednesday declared a measles outbreak in the capital city of Manila.

Health officials noted that the low public trust on immunization was caused by the recent controversy surrounding the anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia which was believed to have resulted in the death of several children who were vaccinated by this drug.

Department of Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo said the relatively low number of measles vaccinations in the country could be attributed to the aborted Dengvaxia vaccination program that began in 2016.

The Department of Health (DOH) cited a 550 percent rise in the number of patients infected with the disease from January 1 to February 6, from the same period past year, and said the figure was likely to rise.

"These regions should step up their responses against the highly communicable disease as well as ensure that preventive measures play a vital role in preventing the spread of the disease", Duque said, referring to Eastern and Central Visayas as well as Northern Mindanao where measles breakouts were also declared.

Duque referred to the Dengvaxia vaccine scare as a main cause of the sudden rise in measles cases.

This prompted the DOH to suspend its immunisation programme, which was launched by President Benigno Aquino III.

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

Health authorities have given varying figures for the number of measles cases and fatalities, including 60 deaths as of Friday morning at San Lazaro Hospital in Manila.

The health department recently said that 830,000 school children aged 9 and older were given the drug, a revision from an earlier estimate of 740,000.

Its complications include severe diarrhea, pneumonia, blindness and even death, according to the Health department.

Linga also called on the parents of children who are already showing symptoms of flu and fever to immediately bring their children to the nearest health center for a check-up.

The Country had recently carried out successfully the largest ever measles vaccination campaign for children across Pakistan. "I can not be blaming her for that", he said.

Acknowledging the health emergency, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered a "vigorous campaign" to get parents to have their children vaccinated. Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra also came to the defense of Acosta, saying she was just doing her job helping the families of children who died supposedly after being inoculated with the controversial anti-dengue vaccine, Dengvaxia.