ILOILO City – The number of deaths from measles in Western Visayas rose to five. The most recent fatality was a 33-year-old man from Roxas City, Capiz province, according to the Department of Health (DOH).
Suspected cases of the viral disease in the region also surged to 1,317 (Jan. 1 to March 15, 2019), DOH data showed.
According to Dr. Jessie Glen Alonsabe, medical specialist III of DOH Region 6, the Roxas City man died on March 7.
Measles is highly contagious. The virus is transmitted via droplets from the nose, mouth or throat of infected persons.
Negros Occidental still had the most number of measles cases at 473 (with three deaths), followed by Antique (231 cases with one death), Iloilo province (217), Bacolod City (146), Aklan (93), Capiz (59 cases with one death), Guimaras (13), and others (22).
DOH said there was a 1,704 percent increase in measles cases from last year’s 73 (Jan. 1 to March 15).
By age group, DOH determined the rate of affliction as follows:
* less than nine months old – 268 cases or 20.35 percent
* one to five years old – 264 cases or 20.05 percent
* six to 10 years old – 75 cases or 5.69 percent
* 11 to 15 years old – 53 cases or 4.02 percent
* 16 years old and above – 563 cases or 42.75 percent
Most of those afflicted were males, DOH data further showed (696 cases or 52.85 percent). Afflicted females numbered 621 or 47.15 percent.
Initial measles symptoms, which usually appear between 10 to 12 days after infection, include high fever, a runny nose, bloodshot eyes, and tiny white spots on the inside of the mouth. Several days later, a rash develops, starting on the face and upper neck and gradually spreading downwards.
Persons exhibiting symptoms must immediately seek treatment in public health centers or hospitals.
According to Vincent Sumergido, senior health program officer of DOH-6, their door-to-door measles immunization program is ongoing. The targets are children from six to 59 months old.
The measles vaccine has been in use since the 1960s. It is safe, effective and inexpensive, according to the World Health Organization. It recommends immunization for all susceptible children and adults for whom measles vaccination is not contraindicated./PN