Distrust in vaccines leads to spike in measles cases
The continuing distrust in vaccines has resulted in a whopping 374-percent increase in the number of measles and rubella cases in the country over the last 11 months.
Latest data from the Department of Health (DOH) show a total of 18,026 cases of measles and rubella were recorded from Jan. 1 to Nov. 17.
The figure is 374 percent higher than the number of cases over the same period last year, when there were only 3,804 cases of the vaccine-preventable diseases.
Of these cases, 164 resulted in deaths, or a 613-percent increase over last year’s 23 deaths.
Among the regions, Davao saw the biggest increase, with 1,531 cases. The DOH recorded only 71 cases in 2017.
The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), on the other hand, had the most number of cases, with 4,145, way higher than the 507 it had last year.
The National Capital Region trailed behind ARMM, reporting 2,785 cases, or a 781-percent increase from the 316 cases in 2017.
Only the Cordillera Administrative Region saw a decline in the number of cases of measles and rubella, dropping 25 percent from 188 to 141.
Health Undersecretary Enrique Domingo attributed the spike in measles and rubella cases partly to the public distrust and lack of confidence in vaccines in the aftermath of the Dengvaxia controversy.
“There is a loss of confidence among our people,” Domingo said. “There are doubts. But we hope we can convince our people anew on the safety and value of vaccines. Hopefully, by 2019, we’ll start reversing the trend and catch up with our vaccination goals and targets again.”
The World Health Organization earlier said that among the factors blamed for the increase, especially in ARMM, of new measles cases were the conflict and the difficulty of people in availing themselves of health services in the region.
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