Measles, rubella cases surge amid vaccination drive

Measles, rubella cases surge amid vaccination drive

/ 05:46 AM November 03, 2023

Measles, rubella cases surge amid vaccination drive

‘CHIKITING LIGTAS’  Manila Mayor Honey Lacuna-Pangan leads the vaccination in her city last May while the number of infections surged.  —INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

The country is still seeing a surge in cases of measles and rubella, with a recent 269-percent increase in infections, even while the government was conducting a child-focused immunization drive against vaccine-preventable diseases.

Based on the latest surveillance report by the Department of Health (DOH), a total of 1,823 cases of measles and rubella were reported from Jan. 1 to Oct. 7, a huge leap from the 494 cases recorded in the same period last year.


Of the total, 1,731 cases were measles infections and 92 were rubella. All 17 regions reported an increase in cases, the highest of which was reported in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) with 532 cases, or a 3,992-percent rise from 13 cases in 2022.


BARMM is composed of the provinces of Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao del Norte, Maguindanao del Sur, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.

This was followed by the increases in Cordillera Administrative Region (Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga and Mountain Province) with 950 percent; Soccsksargen (South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and General Santos City) with 608 percent; Central Luzon (Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac and Zambales) with 538 percent; and Caraga (Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur and Dinagat Islands) with 305 percent; and Western Visayas (Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, Iloilo and Negros Occidental) with 225 percent.

Five deaths

Fatalities due to measles also rose to a total of five this year. They were from the regions of Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon); Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan); Davao (Davao de Oro, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Davao Oriental and Davao Occidental); and BARMM.

This puts the case fatality rate of measles at 0.3 percent. There were no reported deaths due to the viral disease last year.

Measles, which in Filipino is called “tigdas,” and rubella are two of the most common vaccine-preventable diseases among school-age children in the Philippines.

Also known as German measles, rubella is caused by a different virus than measles. Both are contagious and are transmitted when an infected individual coughs or sneezes. Measles are known to be potentially deadly.


Based on the description of the Department of Science and Technology’s Philippine Council for Health Research and Development, the common symptoms are fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes and sore throat.

After the incubation period of seven to 14 days, flat red spots may appear on the face that will eventually spread down to the neck, trunk, arms, legs and feet.

84 percent vaccinated

Under the “Chikiting Ligtas” immunization program, the DOH was able to vaccinate around 84 percent of children against measles and rubella from May 2 to June 14, right in the middle of the time period surveyed.

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The effort was made to curb the threat of a measles outbreak among kids under 5 years old, considered the most susceptible to the disease.

TAGS: Department of Health, DoH, measles, rubella

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