After declaring an outbreak in the area of the National Capital Region and Central Luzon, the Department of Health (DOH) also revealed that at least 55 children have already died of measles which mainly caused by the “low vaccine coverage because of the Dengvaxia scare.”
DOH Secretary Francisco Duque said that the cases of measles, locally known as tigdas, in NCR already shoot up to 550 % from January 1 to February 6 this year compared to the same period last year. They also recorded 169 cases of measles in NCR from January 1 to February 6 this year, higher than the 26 cases recorded in the same period last year.
As of Tuesday, the San Lazaro Hospital in Manila has admitted around 1,504 patients for measles, 1,355 of it were children and teenagers. The hospital also recorded since the start of the year a total of 55 deaths, all of them children between 3 months and 4 years old.
“We are declaring an outbreak as cases have increased in the past weeks and to strengthen surveillance of new cases and alert mothers and caregivers to be more vigilant,” DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III said.
The Health Department also noted that a total of 351 cases were recorded back in 2017, yet measle cases in NCR for 2018 already shoot up to 3,646. They also added that that the country’s vaccination coverage rate had dropped to 60 percent following the controversy surrounding Dengvaxia. This resulted in some parents refused to have their children vaccinated for fear that they would suffer adverse side effects.
The World Health Organization (WHO) already expressed its concern and also addressed that if the low immunization rate was not addressed, the Philippines was in danger of seeing a reemergence of such diseases like polio, pertussis, and diphtheria, among others.
Following the declaration in NCR, Duque also said that they are doing a ‘tight watch’ on the following regions: Ilocos, Cordillera Administrative Region, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, and Caraga since its among those who still has a handful number of unvaccinated children.