22 die in measles outbreak in the Philippine’s regions

Postado Fevereiro 08, 2019

As many as 57 people, including infants and children, have died at the government-run San Lazaro Hospital in Manila, its spokesman Dr Ferdinand de Guzman said.

The epidemic has now spread to Luzon as well as Central and Eastern Visayas, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said.

"We are declaring an outbreak", Duque said, "as cases have increased in the past weeks and to strengthen our surveillance of new cases and alert our mothers and caregivers to be more vigilant".

The announcement came a day after the DOH officially declared a measles outbreak in Metro Manila, also called the National Capital Region (NCR), after it has noted a sharp increase in the number of measles cases.

"It is highly ironic that this report comes out at a time when a health crisis is in the offing due to the Dengvaxia scare instigated by PAO [Public Attorney's Office] Chief Persida Acosta and Duterte's social media minions", she said.

Gundo Weiler, country representative of the UN's World Health Organization, said that officials needed to convince families to return to vaccination programs.

"We are very concerned [about] the situation because there are many cases of measles that ... could have been avoided if we had achieved higher vaccination coverage", Weiler said. "We locate those children who have not been immunized to cover the 95 percent target", he added.

In 2017, French firm Sanofi Pasteur disclosed that the Dengvaxia dengue vaccine posed risks to people who had not been infected before immunization.

The Philippines, a tropical Southeast Asian country, became the first country in the region where Dengvaxia was publicly released.

This prompted the DOH to suspend its immunisation programme, which was launched by President Benigno Aquino III.

For the DOH, the regions need to scale up their response against measles and have all children vaccinated.

As a result, parents refused to have their children vaccinated against other childhood diseases like measles and hepatitis for fear they would suffered side effects that could also lead to their deaths.

"He was saddened... That's why he wanted something done immediately", presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo told reporters.

"Let the legal process take its course and those found responsible be held administratively, criminally, and civilly liable", Panelo said.

It has been reported that even infants younger than nine months have been stricken with measles, at an age younger than is recommended to receive anti-measles vaccines.