DOH: Measles, rubella cases rise by 541%
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines has recorded a 541-percent increase in measles and rubella cases from Jan. 1 to Feb. 25 this year compared to the same period last year.
Based on the latest surveillance report by the Department of Health (DOH) epidemiology bureau, 141 cases of measles and rubella have been reported since the start of the year. Of this number, 133 were measles cases, while eight were rubella.
Most of the cases were from the Zamboanga Peninsula (26), Metro Manila (25), and Calabarzon (20) regions. Only the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao had no reported case.
Measles and rubella are two of the most common vaccine-preventable diseases among school-age children in the Philippines.
Rubella, also known as German measles, is caused by a different virus than measles. However, both are contagious and are transmitted when an infected individual coughs or sneezes.
In October last year, the DOH said it wants to intensify the government’s immunization program amid the threat of a measles outbreak. It aims to reach more children under 5 years old, who are the most susceptible to the disease.
Meanwhile, the DOH has urged those who have to update their COVID-19 shots to get their booster or complete their primary series within their communities as vaccination remains within reach in barangay halls, local health centers, and schools.
“Take advantage of the accessibility of vaccines… because the government has already brought [COVID-19] vaccination to the communities,” said DOH officer in charge Maria Rosario Vergeire.
According to Vergeire, COVID-19 vaccines are available at more than 3,600 vaccination sites nationwide. The DOH website has a complete list of vaccination sites.
The health official reminded the public about the importance of getting a booster because protection against COVID-19 wanes over time after receiving the primary doses.
“Our actions today will determine if we will be able to finally end the fight against COVID,” she said.