‘Yolanda’ evacuees may have brought measles to Metro–DOH
Migrants from typhoon-ravaged areas and children who were not vaccinated by their parents could be two of the causes of the measles upsurge in Metro Manila.
Health Assistant Secretary Dr. Eric Tayag said Tuesday in a media forum that “many victims of Supertyphoon ‘Yolanda’ came to Metro Manila. They may have lacked antimeasles shots or not have been vaccinated at all.”
“But we are not pinning the blame on the calamity victims,” he quickly added.
“Anybody can migrate to Manila. They can be from anywhere—from Yolanda-stricken areas, from the north, from Mindanao…”
Apart from migration, Health Secretary Enrique Ona said another possible cause for the upsurge might be the failure of some parents to have their children vaccinated against measles or to complete the schedule of shots.
“Some even refuse to have their children vaccinated for some reason,” Ona said, adding that measles vaccines were readily available for free at local health centers.
Tayag said children under five years old must be vaccinated against measles.
The latest Department of Health (DOH) data on the National Capital Region showed 417 confirmed measles cases in 2013—1,568 percent higher than the 25 cases recorded in 2012.
Tayag noted 1,724 cases of measles were reported nationwide, including 21 deaths.
He said the DOH will launch in September a nationwide mass vaccination to eliminate measles in the country.
Meanwhile, Tayag cried foul over reports blaming a Filipino hip-hop dancer for the spread of measles in Australia.
The measles outbreak in Australia reportedly began when a Filipino man with flu-like symptoms competed at the 2013 World Supremacy Battlegrounds on Dec. 7-8 in Sydney, which 2,000 people attended.
Tayag said it was not confirmed if the Filipino dancer had the measles.
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