DOH: Measles, rubella cases 153% higher than 2021

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DOH: Measles, rubella cases 153% higher than 2021
A child reacts during a Philippine Read Cross Measles Outbreak Vaccination Response in Baseco compound, a slum area in Manila on February 16, 2019.
AFP / Noel Celis, File

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines has recorded 450 measles and rubella cases since the start of the year, with Calabarzon logging the most number of infections, the Department of Health said Wednesday.

Most of the measles and rubella cases were from Calabarzon (70), Central Visayas (61), and Metro Manila (47), data as of September 17 showed.

The number of measles and rubella infections this year was 153% higher than the 178 cases recorded during the same period in 2021.

Two deaths were reported in 2022.

According to the health agency, Cagayan Valley, Calabarzon, Bicol region, Central Visayas, and Metro Manila have exceeded the measles epidemic threshold in the recent four morbidity weeks covering August 21 to September 17.

Measles clusters were reported in Brgy. Caranglaan in Dagupan City, Pangasinan, and Brgy. Balangasan in Pagadian City, Zamboanga del Sur.

Low jab rates

Health officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire warned Tuesday that the country might see another measles outbreak next year if the measles vaccination rate does not improve.

Only 62.9% of children and infants in the Philippines were fully immunized against vaccine-preventable diseases. The government targets a 95% immunization coverage.

Almost three million children have not received measles vaccination, Vergeire added.

The department attributed low vaccination rates to the disruptions caused by the pandemic and the hesitancy of parents.

The highly-politicized Dengvaxia controversy tainted the government’s immunization programs, not only discrediting the anti-dengue jab but also casting doubt on other vaccines that could protect people from life-threatening diseases.

Measles, according to the World Health Organization, is a highly-contagious disease that is spread by coughing and sneezing, close personal contact or direct contact with infected nasal or throat secretions.

Unvaccinated young children are at highest risk of measles and its complications.



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