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Measles outbreak in Philippines passes 8,000 cases

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Measles Philippines
Asia   The Department of Health has counted 8,443 measles cases

More than 8,000 people have been infected with measles this year in the Philippines, according to the Department of Health.

Less than a week after the Southeast Asian country declared a measles outbreak in the capital of Manila and other parts of the nation, the Department of Health has counted 8,443 measles cases between Jan. 1 and 9 a.m. Feb. 16, Rappler reported.

The number of cases is a 253 percent increase from the same period last year.

A total 136 people have died from the disease in that same time period, 40 percent of whom were under the age of four, Philstar Global reported.

The number of dead is a 491 percent increase from the 23 people who died during the same period last year, the Department of Health said.

To combat the rising number of measles cases, the Department of Health has enlisted one of its most famous citizens Sen. Manny Pacquiao to convince people to vaccinate their children.

In a new infomercial titled "Knock out measles," released Monday, the award-winning boxer encourages the public to be vigilant against the disease.

"In boxing, I have your back. But in the fight against measles, we have to be together," he says in the video that also features health secretary Francisco Duque.

The secretary also informs the viewer that measles vaccines are available nationwide at government health centers and that it is the best way to combat the disease, Philstar Global reported.

The Department of Health has said one of the main causes for the outbreak is "vaccine hesitancy."

The lack of trust in the government's immunization program was brought on by controversy over a dengue vaccine.

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