MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Department of Health (DOH) said on Monday, February 11, that the measles outbreak has caused at least 70 deaths, with majority of the fatalities coming from Calabarzon.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III told reporters that the Epidemiology Bureau recorded 4,302 cases of measles from January 1 to February 9 this year. This is an increase of 122% from the same period last year, when there were 1,935 cases and 18 deaths due to measles.
According to Duque, one of the main reasons behind the measles outbreak was the hesitation of parents to have their children vaccinated. In the wake of the Dengvaxia controversy, immunization rates plummeted as parents refused to have their children vaccinated, fearing this would harm them.
Duque appealed to the public to avail of free vaccination in public health centers. He noted that other vaccines were "long proven to be effective."
Data from the Epidemiology Bureau showed that of the 70 recorded fatalities due to measles, 79% were not vaccinated. Majority of those who died were at least one month old to 31 years old.
Below is the breakdown of the measles cases and deaths per region, based on the DOH's latest data: