Measles cases in WV hit 818; baby boy is latest casualty

By: Emme Rose Santiagudo

AMIDST the relentless efforts of the health department, the number of suspected measles cases in the region spiked to 818 as of March 1, 2019, according to the Department of Health-Center for Health Development (DOH-CHD)-6.

DOH-6 also reported that the latest casualty is a three-month-old male infant from Bago City, Negros Occidental.

Dr. Renilyn Reyes, DOH-6 medical officer IV said the infant died because of respiratory failure secondary to pneumonia with measles as the underlying cause.

“The latest casualty is a three-month-old male from Bago City who died on February 23, 2019. The cause of death is respiratory failure secondary to pneumonia with underlying cause nga measles,” she said.

According to Reyes, four persons died of measles, including three from Negros Occidental.

“One is three-month old male infant from Sibalom, Antique who died of pneumonia with measles on January 12. The other casualty is from Escalante, Negros Occidental who is a 23-year old male who died on January 8 due to sepsis with measles while the other one is a five-month male infant from Talisay, Negros Occidental who died because of pneumonia with measles on January 6,” Reyes said.

The DOH reported that 51 of the 818 suspected measles have been confirmed by laboratory tests.

Meanwhile, Negros Occidental still has the highest number of cases with 298, followed by Antique (186), Bacolod City (112), Iloilo Province (96), Aklan (52), Capiz (25), and Iloilo City (32), based on DOH-6 data.

Despite the increasing cases, the health department continues to strengthen its efforts to combat the spike of measles cases.

As of March 1, 2019, a total of 45,364 children belonging to the 6-59 months old age group have been vaccinated, according to DOH-6.

Also, 3,957 Grade 1 and Grade 7 learners including 2, 022 health workers were also vaccinated.

Around 520 nurses have also been deployed in the region to augment the school-based operations.

In Negros Occidental, which has the highest number of suspected measles cases, Reyes said the local government will conducting non-selective vaccination on children 6-59 months old.

“Local government units will conduct non-selective vaccination, mapabukana ang 6-59 months old regardless kung nabukanahan ukon wala,” she said.

Moreover, provincial health officers and technical monitors have also been training in the conduct of intensified field monitoring/supervision.

According to Reyes, the provincial government has also issued a health board resolution in support to the measles campaign.

To target more children, the health department and the provincial health office of Negros Occidental have been strategizing a plan which will include social mobilization, mass vaccination, and map-up activity.

“Una the social mobilization before, pakadtuon ang tanan nga targets in one area of that barangay kag didto sila mapabakuna daw fiesta atmosphere. After mass vaccination, then will do our map up activity,” she said.

But there is more to do, DOH-6 said they are targeting to vaccinate 408, 687 children among 101 local government units in the region.

Dr. Jessie Glen Alonsabe, Medical Specialist III, DOH-6 said they are expecting the number of measles cases to drop around March to April.

But he assured that the immunization activities will be continued despite the expected lowering of cases.

“Gina-expect naton nga manubo by the end of March to April na ina siya but then again even nga naganubo sige man gihapon ang aton immunization activities,” he said.