Measles cases continue to rise in Eastern Visayas, with 18 deaths
TACLOBAN CITY — Measles cases in Eastern Visayas have continued to balloon as the number of fatalities reached 16.
Records at the Department of Health in Eastern Visayas (DOH-8) showed that cases reached 463 as of Tuesday. This was almost twice the total number of cases recorded in 2018 at 241.
But there were fewer deaths attributed to measles last year at five. As of Feb. 19, or less than two months into the new year, 16 already died of measles.
John Paul Roca, DOH-8 information officer, said 13 of the fatalities were from Leyte province, including four from the capital city of Tacloban; and three from Samar.
The latest fatality was a one-year-old girl from Alangalang, Leyte who died on Feb.16 while confined at the Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center, based here.
Of the 463 measles cases in the region, Roca said 312 were from Leyte and 108 from Samar.
The rest were from Eastern Samar 19; Biliran, 11; Northern Samar, 9; and Southern Leyte, 4.
The rising cases of measles apparently convinced mothers to have their babies vaccinated.
“The high number of measles of the region has become a positive of sort as the number of mothers allowing their children to be vaccinated is increasing,” Roca said.
Massive vaccinations have been conducted not just in rural health centers but also in public gymnasiums, barangay centers, and schools.
DOH hired at least 1,000 nurses to help in the campaign, Roca said.
He said their target for the region was to vaccinate 478,900 children below 59 months old against measles.
With the high interest among parents to have their children vaccinated, they were optimistic of reaching at least 85 percent of the target.
Last year, only 55 percent of their target was reached partly due to fear following the Dengvaxia controversy, when parents refused to have their children vaccinated after the anti-dengue vaccine was blamed for the deaths of some children who received the vaccine.
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