measles, outbreak, NCR

The Department of Health (DOH) today declared a measles outbreak at the National Capital Region (NCR).

Based on data presented by the DOH Epidemiology Bureau, the number of measles cases at the National Capital Region from 1 to 19 January 2019 has reached 196 cases as compared to 20 cases reported in the said region at the same time period in 2018.  For the whole year of 2018, NCR registered 3, 646 measles cases as to against 351 cases in 2017.  

“We are declaring an outbreak as cases have increased in the past weeks and to strengthen surveillance of new cases and alert mothers and caregivers to be more vigilant,” Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III said.

The National Capital Region is composed 16 cities and one municipality.  These are cities of Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas, Valenzuela, Quezon City, Marikina, Pasig, Taguig, Makati, Manila, Mandaluyong, San Juan, Pasay, Parañaque, Las Piñas and Muntinlupa, and the lone municipality of Pateros.

Related to this health threat, other regions under tight watch by the DOH include regions 1, 2, 3, 4A, 4B, 5, 6,7, 8, 9, CAR, CARAGA.  These regions need to likewise scale-up their response against measles and having all unvaccinated children vaccinated against measles, a proven effective and safe measure to further stop its spread, is required.  

Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus. It is transferred from person-to-person by sneezing, coughing, and close personal contact. Its signs and symptoms include cough, runny nose, red eyes/conjunctivitis, fever, skin rashes lasting for more than 3 days.

The disease’s complications included diarrhea, middle ear infection, pneumonia (infection of the lungs), encephalitis (swelling of the brain), malnutrition, blindness which may lead to death.

 “Nutritional support and oral rehydration are important measures to increase body resistance and replace lost body fluids caused by coughing, diarrhea, and perspiration,” Duque said, adding that immunization and vitamin A supplementation of nine-month old children are the best defenses against measles.

The DOH is advising mothers, the public to bring all suspect cases to the nearest health facility for early treatment and proper case management.