ZAMBOANGA CITY: Two children had died of measles in Zamboanga City where health officials recently declared an outbreak with 200 cases reported since January in the wake of their parents’ refusal to have their children inoculated.
The victims – one aged two years and the other three-months-old– were from Barangay Tumaga.
Barangay (village) chairman Jackie Lim confirmed the fatalities and said this came up during a mass anti-measles vaccination of children in Tumaga that started on February 19 to end on March 23.
Health officials said many mothers had refused government inoculation of their children over reportedly rising number of fatalities among minors across the country who were given the anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia.
The Department of Health and the local government launched the immunization drive with health workers going house-to-house in all 98 villages in an effort to inoculate children with aged six months to five years.
Nearly 122,000 children are expected to benefit from the immunization drive.
Health officials have repeatedly appealed and urged mothers to have their children inoculated to protect them from measles–a serious respiratory disease that causes rashes, fever and is very contagious.
The virus can easily spread through sneezing and coughing and direct contact with nasal or throat secretions.
The City Health Office urged those with measles to avoid direct contact with other people to prevent contamination.
Last month. a measles outbreak was declared in Davao City after four deaths and more than 200 cases were reported, of which 17 were confirmed.
The number of cases has risen since January 6 and health officials noted some factors that possibly contributed to the increase.
The outbreak prompted officials of the Department of Health in Region 11 based in Davao City to make a strong appeal to the public to trust the department’s immunization program to arrest further spread of the viral infectious disease.