Global & Disaster Medicine

Measles Red Flag in the Philippines

Philippine DOH

he Department of Health (DOH) raised today the red flag for measles in other regions of Luzon, Central and Eastern Visayas aside from yesterday’s declaration in the National Capital Region.

As of 26 January 2019, validated data from CALABARZON was 575 cases with 9 deaths (CFR 2%) (2,538% an increase as compared to 21 cases of 2018), NCR was 441 with 5 deaths (CFR 1%) (1,125% increase as compared to 36 cases of 2018), Region 3 had 192 cases with 4 deaths (CFR 2%) (500% increase compared to 32 cases of 2018), Region 6 with 104 cases and 3 deaths (CFR 3%) (550% increase compared to 16 cases of 2018) and Region 7 with 71 cases with 1 death (CFR 1%) (3,450% increase compared to 2 cases of 2018).

“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,” Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III said.

Other regions showed the number of cases reported at 70 cases with no deaths for MIMAROPA (3,400% increase compared to 2 cases of 2018), Region 1 with 64 cases with 2 deaths (CFR 3%) (220% increase compared to 20 cases of 2018), Region 10 with 60 cases with no deaths reported (4% decrease compared to 63 cases in 2018), Region 8 with 54 cases and 1 death (2% CFR) (5,300% increase compared to 1 case of 2018), Region 12 with 43 cases with no deaths (34% decrease compared to 66 cases of 2018).  These regions should likewise step-up their response against this highly communicable disease, as well as ensure that preventive measures play a vital role in preventing the spread of the disease; these must be emphasized to mothers and the general public as a whole.

Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus. It is transferred from person-to-person by sneezing, coughing, and close personal contact. Its signs and symptoms include cough, runny nose, red eyes/conjunctivitis, fever, skin rashes lasting for more than 3 days.

The disease’s complications included diarrhea, middle ear infection, pneumonia (infection of the lungs), encephalitis (swelling of the brain), malnutrition, blindness which may lead to death.

“Supportive measures like building the nutritional status of the sick person and increasing oral rehydration are important measures to increase body resistance and replace lost body fluids caused by coughing, diarrhea, and perspiration,” Duque said, adding that immunization and vitamin A supplementation of nine-month old children and unvaccinated individuals are the best defenses against measles.
 
The DOH is advising mothers, the public to bring their children at the first sign of fever to the nearest health facility for prompt treatment and proper case management.


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