Antique steps up anti-measles drive

A Red Cross personnel prepares an anti-measles shot at a vaccination camp in the Philippines. GETTY IMAGES

SAN JOSE, Antique – As of March 11, seven new cases of measles were recorded in seven towns in Antique, according to the Department of Health (DOH).

These municipalities were Belison, Libertad, Pandan, Patnongon, San Jose, San Remigio, and Sibalom.

Antique now has a total of 229 recorded measles cases this year, making it the second area with the most number of the contagious viral disease in Western Visayas, next to Negros Occidental.

This year, one death due to measles was also recorded in province, specifically in Sibalom town.

Dr. Feman Rene Autajay – development management officer V of DOH-Antique – said the Provincial Health Office has strengthened its immunization campaign against measles beginning yesterday.

Aside from the community-based immunization, the PHO in coordination with the Department of Education, local government units and other stakeholders will also conduct an intensive and focused school-based immunization starting this week until the first week of April this year, said Provincial Health Officer II Dr. Ric Noel Naciongayo.

Naciongayo added that more than 7,000 Grade 1 and 7 pupils in 537 Antique schools will be covered by the vaccination program.

Parental consent will be considered in subjecting a child to the immunization program, he said.

Measles is transmitted through droplets from the nose, mouth or throat of infected persons, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Its initial symptoms – which usually appear 10 to 12 days after infection – include high fever, a runny nose, bloodshot eyes, and tiny white spots on the inside of the mouth.

Rashes would develop after several days, starting on the face and upper neck and gradually spreading downwards.

“The measles vaccine has been in use since the 1960s. It is safe, effective and inexpensive,” WHO said in its website. (With a report from PIA/PN)


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