Nov 29, 2018

The Department of Health workers in Sarangani are working to contain a measle outbreak in a remote community of a B’laan tribe in Sarangani province which is said to have killed 18 children over the course of a few weeks.

In nearby upland communities of Barangay Upper Suyan, Malapaan, the spread of the airborne viral diseases started as early as the first week of Nov. with an estimated 100 cases according to their village chair.

To counter its spread, health workers have immunized 550 children aged 10 and below who are most vulnerable.

However, this is not an isolated case. In a Facebook post, the World Health Organization (WHO) cited a recent report by the Department of Health which found that there has been a 367% increase in reported measles cases throughout the country from Jan. to Nov. this year.

Earlier this year, Zamboanga declared a measles outbreak with 495 cases. While DOH Bicol, last October, tallied a total of 239 cases with six deaths.

The WHO Facebook post encourages everyone to have their children vaccinated as this demographic is at high risk of the disease and its symptoms which includes high fever, colds, conjunctivitis, and rashes, among others.

“Unvaccinated young children are at highest risk of measles and its complications, including death,” the post said.

The health bureau linked the outbreaks with the public’s reluctance towards getting vaccines following the Dengvaxia scandal.

“Although some sectors may attribute the outbreak to the Dengvaxia issue, it is actually the result of low measles vaccine coverage in the past years which led to the accumulation of susceptible individuals,” Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III said in a statement released on the DOH Facebook page.

Duque, addressing the Zamboanga outbreak, advised parents to immediately isolate children with fever and rashes and seek consultation.


Featured image courtesy of Marianne Bermudez for

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TAGS: Department of Health DOH health measles measles outbreak