The Department of Health (DOH) ordered their local office in Malapatan, Sarangani province to intensify their mass anti-measles immunization program following reports that at least 17 children passed away due to suspected of measles.
“Para magkaroon ng tinatawag na herd immunity. Yung mga batang hindi pa nagkaka-measles, mabigyan ng kaagaran bakuna laban sa measles para hindi na kumalat yung sakit at mahawaan yung ibang bata na walang bakuna,” DOH Sec. Francisco Duque III said during an interview with Radyo Natin.
Duque also clarified that they have yet to confirm whether the deaths were due to measles. He explained that further tests need to be conducted since other viral infections have similar symptoms with measles.
The Health secretary expects to receive confirmation if the deaths were due to measles within the week.
“Hangga’t hindi natin ma-confirm using the polymerase chain reaction test ay hindi natin masasabi na siguradong measles ang dahilan ng kanilang pagkamatay,” Duque explained.
Meanwhile, Duque assured that there have been no other reported cases of measles outside Malapatan and the outbreak is confined in the municipality.
He also assured that they continue to provide tactical support, equipment, and free vaccines to the local government unit of Malapatan for their mass vaccination program.
According to reports, more than 500 children have been vaccinated of anti-measles in Malapatan.
100 children have also been hospitalized after experiencing severe headache, fever, and skin rashes, the common symptoms for measles.