DOH steps up drive vs measles amid outbreak

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1,724 cases were recorded nationwide as of Dec. 14, 2013; 744 cases were in Metro Manila

FREE VACCINE. A nurse injects an infant with a measles vaccine in Tondo, Manila. File photo by Noel Celis / AFP

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) is stepping up its campaign against tigdas or measles, following the increase in the number of cases recorded last year and outbreak in some barangays in Metro Manila.

The DOH reported that there were 1,724 cases of measles nationwide from January 1 to December 14, 2013, with 43% or 744 cases recorded in Metro Manila alone.

Some 21 barangays in 9 cities have declared an outbreak in their areas, according to state-run Philippine News Agency. These barangays include:

  • Caloocan City: Bagong Barrio and Dagat-dagatan
  • Las Piñas City: Pamplona Uno, Talon Dos, and Talon Singko
  • Malabon City: Longos and Tonsuya
  • Manila: Binondo, Quiapo, Port Area, Sampaloc, Sta. Cruz, Sta. Mesa, and Tondo
  • Muntinlupa City: Alabang and Putatan
  • Navotas: North Bay Boulevard South
  • Parañaque City: Don Bosco and Moonwalk
  • Taguig City: Bagong Tanyag
  • Valenzuela City: Ugong

Measles is a viral, highly-contagious respiratory disease. Infected persons exhibit symptoms such as high fever, red eyes, runny nose and cough. Rashes would then appear throughout the body after two days.

The illness can be spread through cough or direct contact with body secretions of an infected person.

Free vaccination

DOH Assistant Secretary Eric Tayag, on his Twitter account, reminded Filipinos that vaccination is free in all health centers nationwide.

Tayag noted that children who missed their measles vaccine shot 5 years ago are more vulnerable to measles now and in the coming days.

As a precautionary measure, Tayag told parents to have their children immunized, saying that babies aged 6 to 11 months should take their first vaccine shot, while they should be vaccinated the second time when they are 12 to 18 months old.

He also advised students who exhibit symptoms of measles to stay home and not go to school on Monday, January 6.

The DOH will meet with health officers in Metro Manila and civil society organizations on Monday to step up its vaccination drive, said Tayag. –

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