Philippines Reports 31,056 Measles Cases in 2019
An official of the Philippines Department of Health (DOH) said ‘there is a gradual decrease in measles cases for the past few weeks.’
This is good news since, between January and April 13, 2019, the DOH has confirmed 31,056 measles cases, including 415 deaths in 2019.
Unfortunately, this data represents a Case Fatality Rate of 1.34 percent, which disproportionally impacts children.
And, the 2019 data is 368 percent greater than reported in 2018.
"Although measles cases this year increased more than last year, yet basing on our epidemic threshold, we can see a gradual decrease of these cases in the past few weeks," said Karen Lonogan, DOH Senior Health Program Officer.
As of April 24, 2019, 5,379,927 Filipinos have been vaccinated against measles during 2019.
To further reduce the measles outbreak, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said, ‘it will continue its efforts to immunize grade school children with the MMR vaccine as soon as classes officially start on June 3, 2019.’
Measles is a disease that can lead to serious complications, such as pneumonia. It is caused by a highly-contagious virus that is spread through the air by breathing, coughing, or sneezing.
And, pregnant women who have not received the vaccine should take extra care to avoid measles virus exposure, says the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
If a woman becomes infected while pregnant, she may face the following risks:
- miscarriage or stillbirth
- the baby to be born prematurely (before the 37th week of pregnancy)
- the baby having a low birth weight
In addition, women who get the measles vaccine should wait 4 weeks before getting pregnant, says Immunize.org.
To notify Americans when visiting the Philippines, the CDC re-issued a Level I Travel Alert during March 2019.
The CDC says travelers to the Philippines should make sure they are vaccinated against measles with the measles, mumps, and rubella MMR vaccine, and should speak with a healthcare provider regarding additional vaccinations.
In the USA, most pharmacies offer measles vaccines, such as MMR-II and ProQuad.
Vaccine discounts and financial support can be found at Vaccine Discounts.
Relevant Links: CDC vaccination schedules, CDC price list, how to report vaccine side effects, and international travel alerts.