Measles outbreak declared in 6 areas

By Jerrie Abella – The Department of Health (DOH) has declared a measles outbreak in six areas across the country.

Dr. Eric Tayag of the DOH National Epidemiology Center said these areas are Baseco Compound and Moriones in Tondo, Manila; Barangay Pulang Lupa in Las Piñas City; Balabagan town in Lanao del Sur; Central Market in Dasmariñas, Cavite; and San Francisco town in Quezon.

DOH Secretary Esperanza Cabral, in an interview on dzBB radio, said measles outbreaks are to be expected during the summer season.

A total of 570 cases of measles have been recorded from January to February 5 this year, according to the DOH, with children aged one to nine as its common victims.

Cabral said symptoms that measles is imminent include fever, general weakness and occasionally red eyes. She said these usually come before the characteristic skin rash confirming the onset of measles.

“Ganoon ang umpisa, parang trangkaso. Nilalagnat, matamlay ang pakiramdam, nananamlay ang katawan. Tapos nalaman na tigdas paglabas ng characteristic skin rash (It starts out with flu-like symptoms. You feel feverish and weak, then the characteristic skin rash comes in),” she said.

She, however, said that while measles is usually self-limiting, it can cause complications in people with weak immune systems, including diarrhea, pneumonia and encephalitis, and corneal ulceration leading to corneal scarring.

“Pangkaraniwan gagaling yan kahit walang gamot na ibibigay. (Pero) ang batang walang resistensya minsan nagkakaroon ng complication tulad ng pulmonya, minsan ito ang nakakamatay sa kanila (Usually one can get well from measles without taking medicines. But children with weak immune systems may develop complications like pneumonia and this may prove fatal on occasions),” she said.

Tayag, for his part, said the disease is highly contagious as it is airborne.

“Four days even before the rashes start to appear up to four days after the rashes appeared, measles can still be spread by an inflicted person,” he said in Filipino.

He likewise reminded parents to have infants undergo vaccination as early as nine months after birth, saying the reason behind outbreaks is the high percentage of children who were not vaccinated.

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