Health alert: Measles outbreak declared in Davao City
DAVAO CITY — Health officials in the city on Monday declared a measles outbreak after four children died and the number
of suspected cases climbed to more than 200.
Dr. Josephine Villafuerte, chief of the City Health Office (CHO), however, said only 17 of the suspected cases recorded from November last year to Jan. 12 this year had been confirmed to be measles.
Of the confirmed cases, 16 were call center agents who were confined in hospitals last week, she said. Many of those infected with measles, Villafuerte said, were not Davao residents but migrants or transients.
Assistant Health Secretary Abdullah Dumama, director of the Department of Health (DOH) in Southern Mindanao region, confirmed the sudden increase in suspected measles cases here, which the DOH said reached 224 cases.
He said the rising number of suspected measles cases was a cause for alarm, since deaths had been reported.
While the carrier of the measles virus had not been identified, health workers discovered that the low immunization coverage among residents had contributed to the spread of the virus, Dumama said.
“Of the 224 cases, we learned that 119 had not been vaccinated,” Dumama said.
He blamed the parents for this health crisis, noting that many of them had cited excuses, like their lack of time, on why they failed to bring their children to health centers for their antimeasles shots.
Villafuerte said health workers in the city had vaccinated some 13,000 children, aged 5 months to 5 years, as of Monday as part of the city’s outbreak response immunization operations to prevent the virus from spreading further.
She said they also embarked on a massive information campaign, teaching parents how to spot signs of possible infection. —Art Sambalud with a report from Allan Nawal
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.