DOH Bicol puts increasing measles trend under watch

Following the reported measles outbreak in Metro Manila, the Department of Health Center for Health Development (DOH CHD) Bicol put measles under careful watch to prevent an outbreak in Bicol.

The DOH Epidemiology Bureau reported that the number of measles cases in other Regions, namely - Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, CALABARZON, MIMAROPA, and Bicol Region, have shown an increasing trend.
As of January 1 to February 2, 2019, records from Bicol Region revealed 54 new cases of measles with 2 laboratory confirmed cases. Reports show that Sorsogon has the highest number of measles cases at 21 cases, followed by Masbate – 12, Camarines Sur – 12, Albay – 5, and Camarines Norte – 3, and Catanduanes – 0.

DOH CHD - Bicol assured that it will be coordinating with land and sea terminals, markets, schools, and other government agencies and non-government organizations to disseminate information and enjoin them to actively participate in the prevention and control efforts of DOH. DOH CHD - Bicol is also lobbying to push mandatory immunization as counter-measure to prevent a possible outbreak and re-emergence of vaccine-preventable diseases.

“There is a possibility of a spill-over, that some of these children carrying measles from Manila will travel home to Bicol because the hospitals cannot accommodate them anymore due to the influx of measles patients. That is why we should be ready and ensure that our children here in Bicol have the necessary protection against measles,” said Family Health Cluster Head, Dra. Rita Ang-Bon.
Ang-Bon also suggested that parents should review their children’s immunization cards and bring their children in the nearest health centers.

“There is no known cure for measles, our best defense here is immunization,” added Ang-Bon.
Bicol’s Immunization Program Coordinator, Dr. Monrey Isaiah Mancilla further emphasized that 9 out 10 unvaccinated children with close contact to a measles patient may develop measles. Mancilla advised the public to be vigilant and refer a person showing symptoms of coughs, colds, red eyes, fever, and skin rashes to the nearest health facility for early diagnosis and promt case management.
Meanwhile, in response to the increasing trend of measles in Bicol, DOH OIC - Regional Director, Dr. Ernie V. Vera calls on the parents to make their children’s health concern their utmost priority, and not to wait for the complications before taking action.

“The measles vaccines that we are using have been around since 2010 and there have been no reported deaths from the vaccines ever since. We urge the parents to trust the DOH because we review our medicines thoroughly to ensure that they are safe,” said Vera.

“We advise the public not to immediately believe unfounded scares, or reports without basis at the expense of the children’s health. We seek the public’s cooperation with our programs because it will be all for naught if no one would receive them,” added Vera.

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