Filipino parents urged to immunise children amid measles outbreak

Filipino parents urged to immunise children amid measles outbreak

The Department of Health (DOH) today declared a measles outbreak at the National Capital Region (NCR).

Duque said health officials were "very frustrated" with the outbreak despite their warnings that the "Dengvaxia scare", which he had blamed on the campaign against the dengue vaccine led by Public Attorney's Office chief Persida Acosta, would lower confidence in vaccines.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque has stressed that bronchopneumonia from measles complications can be deadly.

There have been 1,813 measles cases and 26 deaths in Philippines as of January 26, according to the Department of Health Epidemiology Bureau.

Duque declared that there was also an outbreak in central and southern Luzon and in central and western Visayas.

Children who are unvaccinated may face a higher risk of acquiring measles and its complications which include severe diarrhea, pneumonia, blindness and death.

A total of 441 measles cases and five deaths have been reported in Metro Manila, while Central Luzon had 192 cases and four deaths.

Three more cases of measles have been confirmed in Taiwan, bringing the number to 11 since the beginning of the year, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said Friday.

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Aside from parents, the UNICEF also urged the government to "support the mobilization of health workers, to disseminate the right information and address any fear and mistrust of vaccines".

"We encourage government hospitals to convert at least one room into a measles isolation room to prevent the spread of the disease in the health facility", said Dr. Renilyn Reyes, Medical Officer IV, in a press briefing on Friday.

The number is way too high compared with 20 cases in the same period in 2018.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles disagreed, saying he did not believe compulsory immunization was needed.

The sharp increase in measles cases and deaths prompted senators to call on the public to get children vaccinated. President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the Department of Health to launch a "vigorous" campaign to promote vaccination following the declaration of a measles outbreak.

Convocar said they also prioritize the implementation of "measles fast lanes". "I can not be blaming her for that", he said. This represents a 74 per cent increase on the same period of past year.

"In this scenario we have a pool of children building up over time who are not protected and who are susceptible to measles", Dr Weiler said.

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