Officials of the Catholic Church urged parents not bring measles-stricken children to the church.
Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco stressed that as a practical way of protecting the public and avoiding the spread of the disease, parents should not bring their children suffering from measles to church.
“Advise the parents not to bring kids to the Church if they have measles or even those who are suspected to have measles,” Ongtioco said.
Jaro Bishop Angel Lagdameo added that refraining children with measles from going to the church is a “charitable and practical” way from avoiding the spread of the disease.
“Yes, I will advise. It is practical and charitable,” he said.
The Department of Health (DOH) reported that from January 1 to December 14 in 2013, there were 1,724 laboratory-confirmed measles cases nationwide—744 cases are from Metro Manila.
DOH said that the recent measles outbreak was caused by a new viral strain from children who were not immunized.
Meanwhile, Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles clarified that nobody gets sick “by going to the church,” however when people become helpless in stopping the “plague” they turn patients over to the priests and to the Church.
“In all kinds of distress, the Church is the normal refuge,” he added.
Noting the need to alleviate the disease from spreading, Malolos Bishop Jose Oliveros emphasized that the Church will cooperate with the government once they “are informed.”
However, he said that they did not yet receive the measles alert from the health bureau. “Yes. [There is] no church attendance for children with measles,” Romblon Bishop Arturo Bastes added.
By 2017, the DOH is aiming to have a measles-free Philippines, as set by the World Health Organizations.