Measles cases up in Metro, says DOH
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health warned the public Wednesday about a spike in the incidence of measles in Manila, noting that the number of cases this year was seven times more than a year ago.
Statistics released by the Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Unit showed a total of 179 confirmed measles cases from January 1 to December 10, 2013, 616 percent more than the 25 cases registered during the same period last year.
The health department’s Metro Manila regional director, Eduardo Janairo, advised residents to take the necessary precautions, saying measles could bring about such complications as ear infections, pneumonia and even inflammation of the brain.
“It is also highly contagious and can be spread easily through cough and sneeze and direct contact with affected persons through nose or mouth secretions,” Janairo said, adding that measles infection in a pregnant woman can lead to miscarriage, premature birth or a low-birth weight.
According to a Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Unit report, the ages of the 179 cases ranged from 1 month to 37 years, with most of those affected belonging to the 1-4 years age-group and majority were males.
Two deaths were reported, in Malabon City and Muntinlupa City, the report added.
The cities with most cases were Las Piñas with 44, Muntinlupa with 32, Caloocan 26, Manila 22, Parañaque 15 and Malabon 10. Quezon City and Taguig had 8 each, Navotas 7, Pasay 4, Makati 2 and Pasig 1.
The cities of Mandaluyong, Marikina, San Juan, Valenzuela and municipality of Pateros had no measles cases so far this year, according to the report.
Measles usually begins with common cold symptoms like high fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes that can last for several days before the appearance of a red, blotchy rash.
“If you believe you are exposed to someone with measles, you should observe for measles symptoms to appear after nine days. Some persons can be affected immediately before the rash appears four days after being exposed,” said Janairo.
According to him, everyone should check to make sure they themselves and members of their family are up-to-date on measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine and all other age-appropriate immunizations.
“Measles vaccination not only protects the person but also serves as safeguard to family members who are too young to get the vaccine or haven’t received it yet. Receiving two doses of measles vaccine is highly effective in preventing measles,” he said.
He urged the public to report suspected measles cases to a health care provider before going to a hospital. He said a suspected measles case must first be evaluated as a precaution and protection to other patients and health workers from possible infection.
Janairo said they have already dispatched teams of nurses who will act as Anti-Measles Task Force to different areas in Metro Manila to assist in evaluating patients and provide the necessary vaccination to prevent further transmission of the disease.
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