Measles outbreak in Philippines, which began in January, killed 136 people, mostly children. More than 8,400 others have been sickened.
This is already 253% higher than the number of incidences accounted in the same period in 2018, when 23 deaths were recorded. Majority of cases come from Calabarzon and Metro Manila. In an effort to abate the steep rise in number of measles cases, the government has pulled out all the stops to control the spread of the disease. Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said on Monday a massive immunization drive that started last week in hard-hit Manila and four provincial regions may contain the outbreak by April.
23% of children 6 to 59 months old have been now vaccinated in Metro Manila. President Rodrigo Duterte urged children to be immunized. Measles may cause complications such as pneumonia and diarrhea in infected patients. It can lead to death if left untreated. There is an hesitation of some parents to have their children vaccinated, fearing this would harm them. The regular supplemental immunization program for measles called “Ligtas Tigdas” saw its vaccination coverage rates take a nosedive with 69% in Phase 1 and 29% in Phase 2 in 2018.