ILOILO – The Provincial Health Office (PHO) has stepped up its measles immunization of children as it confirmed three measles cases in the province.
The cases were in the municipalities of Lambunao, Miag-ao and Guimbal.
PHO also bared six suspected measles in the towns of Igbaras, Pavia, Santa Barbara, Leganes, Barotac Viejo, and San Enrique.
According to Dr. Patricia Grace Trabado, PHO chief, in the six suspected cases, two were infants (two months old and six months old).
According to Trabado, PHO prioritizes the immunization of children between five months old and 59 months old in towns with confirmed and suspected measles cases.
“We urge parents to complete the measles immunization of their children,” said Trabado.
Measles immunization for children involves two shots of the anti-measles vaccine.
In the whole Western Visayas, the Department of Health recorded a total of 13 confirmed cases since January this year (Antique, 6; Negros Occidental, 4; Iloilo, 3).
Measles ranks as one of the leading causes of childhood mortality in the world despite the availability of effective vaccine, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
It is caused by a virus in the paramyxovirus family and it is normally passed through direct contact and through the air.
The virus infects the respiratory tract then spreads throughout the body.
The first sign of measles is usually a high fever, which begins about 10 to 12 days after exposure to the virus, and lasts four to seven days.
A runny nose, a cough, red and watery eyes, and small white spots inside the cheeks can develop in the initial stage.
After several days, a rash erupts, usually on the face and upper neck. Over about three days, the rash spreads, eventually reaching the hands and feet. The rash lasts for five to six days, and then fades. On average, the rash occurs 14 days after exposure to the virus (within a range of seven to 18 days).
The highly contagious virus is spread by coughing and sneezing, close personal contact or direct contact with infected nasal or throat secretions./PN