Death toll in measles outbreak hits 70 in Philippines

Reported cases of measles have spiked 30 per cent worldwide since 2016.							Jeff J Mitchell  Getty Images

They urged their members around the country to spearhead vaccination efforts and awareness activities in partnership with local government units and government health practitioners.

OUCH! - A baby is given a measles shot at a health center in Baseco compound in Tondo, Manila, Sunday.

Duque then added that as of January 26, 2019, their department saw an "increasing trend" in the number of measles cases in Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, CALABARZON, MIMAROPA (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan), and Bicol region.

The DOH cited a study conducted in October 2018 by the World Health Organization (WHO) in selected areas in Metro Manila to identify reasons for not bringing their children for immunization.

"During an outbreak is when you see an influx of patients who would otherwise be vaccine-hesitant", Virginia Ramos, an infection control nurse at the Sea Mar Community Health Center, told Kaiser Health News. "The resulting measles and diphtheria outbreaks have also spread to other countries in the region". The report said, "Outbreaks in North America and in Europe emphasize that measles can easily spread even in countries with mature health systems.Due to ongoing outbreaks, measles is again considered endemic in Germany and Russian Federation". An estimated 2.5 million Filipino children from under five were not vaccinated with the measles vaccine remain at risk of getting the disease.

"The Duterte administration recognizes that this is a public health issue that needs to be urgently addressed, which is why we are focused on ensuring that the provisions of RA 10152 are properly implemented", Karlo Nograles, secretary to the cabinet said.

The secretary further said that the directive also tasked the DOH to make sure that everyone will be informed about the immunization law and implement it accordingly. "Those who did not could be punished with a 200-peso fine or one month imprisonment", he explained.

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The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) said that confinements due to measles are covered by their health insurance.

"The recommended two doses of the measles vaccine provide even greater protection - 97 percent".

For non-members, Ferrer said PhilHealth has a program called Point-of-Service (POS), "where they are instantly afforded with health insurance".

A United Nations agency has expressed alarm over the measles outbreak across the Philippines.

Sixty-six percent of them had no history of vaccination against measles, according to the data.

Regions with high reported cases are NCR (1,296 cases and 18 deaths) CALABARZON (1,086 cases and 25 deaths), Central Luzon (481 cases with 3 deaths), Western Visayas (212 cases and 4 deaths) and Northern Mindanao (189 cases and 2 deaths).

At the same time, 2018 followed a year in which Europe achieved its highest-ever coverage for the second dose of measles vaccination at the national level, showing that gaps at subnational levels are to blame for the disease's resurfacing. Cruz, Manila, 60 deaths have already been recorded.

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