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Resurgence of measles in Philippines kills 70 so far this year

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Staff Writer | February 11, 2019
Philippines measles
Asia   Sixty-six percent of them had no history of vaccination against measles

The Philippine government has recorded at least 70 measles-related deaths in several regions in the country in just over one month, the health department said on Monday.

Validated data from different regions culled by the Epidemiology Bureau of the Philippine Department of Health (DOH) showed that from Jan. 1 to Feb. 9 this year, a total of 4,302 measles cases have been reported, with 70 deaths.

Sixty-six percent of them had no history of vaccination against measles, according to the data.

Of the total deaths, the DOH said ages ranged from one month to 31 years old. "Notably, 79 percent of those who died had no history of vaccination," the DOH said.

The DOH said regions with high reported cases are Metro Manila with 1,296 cases and 18 deaths, Calabarzon region with 1,086 cases and 25 deaths, Central Luzon with 481 cases with three deaths, Western Visayas with 212 cases and four deaths, and Northern Mindanao with 189 cases and two deaths.

Last week, the DOH declared a measles outbreak in Metro Manila, Central Luzon, Western Visayas and Eastern Visayas.

The DOH blamed the measles outbreak on the reluctance of Philippine parents to get the vaccine in the wake of the Dengvaxia dengue controversy. The vaccine was blamed for the deaths of some children in the country.

The DOH cited a study conducted in October 2018 by the World Health Organization (WHO) in selected areas in Metro Manila to identify reasons for not bringing their children for immunization. The results showed the top reasons are fear due to Dengvaxia, and the lack of time among households.

DOH said it has been conducting vaccination activities against measles such as Outbreak Immunization Responses in several regions.

Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus. It is transferred from person-to-person by sneezing, coughing, and close personal contact.

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