From the Department of Health
Department of Health – National Capital Region (DOH-NCR) Director Eduardo C. Janairo today warned residents of Metro Manila on the rapid increase of measles cases in some parts of Metro Manila particularly in the cities of Las Piñas, Muntinlupa, Caloocan, Manila, and Paranaque.
“Everyone should take necessary precaution because measles is a severe disease that causes complications like ear infections, pneumonia and even inflammation of the brain. It is also highly contagious and can be spread easily through cough and sneeze and direct contact with affected persons through nose or mouth secretions,” Dir. Janairo stated.
Parents and caretakers should take precaution and observe for measles symptoms. It usually begins with common cold symptoms like high fever, cough, runny nose, sore red eyes that can last for several days before the appearance of a red, blotchy rash. “If you believe you are exposed to someone with measles, you should observe for measles symptoms to appear after nine days. Some person can be affected immediately before the rash appears four days after being exposed.” he added
According to Janairo, everyone should check to make sure they themselves and members of their family are up-to-date on measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine and all other age-appropriate immunizations. “Measles vaccination not only protects the person but also serves as safeguard to family members who are too young to get the vaccine or haven’t received it yet. Receiving two doses of measles vaccine is highly effective in preventing measles.”
Partial reports from the Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Unit showed a total of 179 confirmed measles cases from January 1 to December 10, 2013. The figure is 616% higher compared to the same period last year with only 25 cases recorded. Ages of cases ranged from 1 month to 37 years. Most of those affected were the 1- 4 years age-group. Majority were male. Two deaths were reported, from Malabon City and Muntinlupa City.
Among the cities with most number of measles cases were Las Piñas with 44 cases, Muntinlupa with 32, Caloocan – 26, Manila – 22, Parañaque – 15, Malabon – 10, Quezon – 8, Taguig – 8, Navotas – 7, Pasay – 4, Makati – 2 and Pasig with 1 recorded measles case. The cities of Mandaluyong, Marikina, San Juan, Valenzuela and municipality of Pateros have recorded zero case of measles for 2013.
DOH-NCR urged everyone to report suspected measles cases to a health care provider before going to a hospital. A suspected measles case must first be evaluated as a precaution and protection to other patients and health workers from possible infection.
Measles is easily spread through the air when an infected person talks, coughs, or sneezes. People can also get sick when they come in contact with mucus or saliva from an infected person. Anyone who hasn’t been vaccinated or has not had measles is at risk if they are exposed to the virus. Measles can also cause serious complications such as pneumonia and encephalitis (swelling of the brain). Measles infection in a pregnant woman can lead to miscarriage, premature birth, or a low-birth weight baby.
Those who have developed symptoms of measles should stay away from public places such as work, school, child care, shops, and public transport to avoid putting others at risk.
DOH-NCR already dispatched teams of KP nurses who will act as Anti-Measles Task Force to identified areas in Metro Manila to assist in evaluating patients and provide the necessary vaccination to prevent further transmission of the disease.
Janairo urged all parents and caregivers of children aged 0-12 years old to go the nearest health center and have their children immunized against measles.