DOH moves to control measles spread in Iloilo

By: Lilibeth A. French

THE Department of Health – Center for Health Development (DOH-CHD) 6 is taking necessary measures to prevent the spread of measles in the northern part of the province of Iloilo.

Dr. Mary Jane Juanico, Medical Officer III of DOH –CHD 6, said that they have noted clustering of measles cases in the 5th district of Iloilo primarily in the towns of Sara, Ajuy, Lemery, San Dionisio and Concepcion.

Most of the reported cases involved adults who are mostly not immunized.

Juanico said series of consultations were already made with the Iloilo Provincial Health Office and nurses and Municipal Health Officers of affected towns to strengthen their routine and school- based immunization to prevent measles from spreading among children.

She said barangays with clustered cases of measles will be prioritized for the intensified measles immunization activities.

Eligible for the routine immunization are children nine months of age for the first dose and 12 months of age for the second dose.

“If logistic permits we can give measles immunization to six months old so that our children will be protected from the spread,” said Juanico.

She advised parents that once their children have high fever and rashes with cough, runny nose and inflamed eyes, they have to seek consultation immediately and to avoid complications such as pneumonia, diarrhea and encephalitis.

Also, adults who manifest these symptoms to immediately isolate themselves.

Transmission of measles is very high, according to Juanico, as a person with measles can infect 18 to 20 more  persons.

The disease is transmissible person to person through coughing and sneezing and can spread from four days before the rash starts and four days after the rash started.

From January to September 14 this year, Juanico said there are 2,860 reported cases of measles in the region with eight deaths which is around 0.4 case fatality rate.

“We are one of the regions with the lowest case fatality rate all over the Philippines,” said Juanico, attributing this to early prevention of the spread of the disease.

Meanwhile, Juanico said some of the local government units in the region have resumed their school-based immunization (SBI) for measles and rubella after DOH has lifted the moratorium on SBI implementation to focus on dengue.

As of September 13, 2019, around 61, 129 Kinder to Grade 7 pupils have been immunized which is about 20 percent of its 300,000 target beneficiaries in the region. (PIA)