Measles cases on the rise despite eradication efforts

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Despite the government’s efforts to eradicate measles in the country for the past 10 years, the disease just kept on coming back, as shown by variable number of cases each year.

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Data from the National Epidemiology Center of the Department of Health (DOH-NEC) revealed that measles cases from 2003 to 2012, both clinically and laboratory-confirmed, kept on moving, mostly on an uprise.

The center recorded 10,496 measles cases, both clinically and laboratory-confirmed, in 2003. The numbers dropped in the next two years with 3004 cases in 2004 or a 71.38-percent drop from the 2003 statistics, and only 158 in 2005 or a 94.56-percent drop from the 2004 statistics. However, it was noted that only clinically confirmed measles cases were registered in 2005.

By 2006, measles cases surged, from 227 to 469 in 2007; 863 in 2008; 1,461 in 2009; and until the numbers shot up in 2010 with 6,231 cases. The rise slightly continued in 2011, at 2.44 percent equivalent to 112 additional cases.

The numbers dropped in 2012 by 76.64 percent, equal to 1,491 cases.

Meanwhile, NEC reported earlier that as of December 14 last year, the office recorded 1,724 measles cases—a 15.63-percent rise compared to the 2012 statistics. However, a staff of the said office told The Manila Times that the annual report on the measles cases count last year is still being collated.

In a span of eight years, the National Capital Region (NCR) recorded the most measles cases. Meanwhile, the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) registered most of the measles cases in 2007, and Western Visayas (composed of the provinces of Iloilo, Capiz, Aklan, Antique, Guimaras and Negros Occidental) in 2012.

The said office defined ‘clinically confirmed cases’ as those “that meet the suspect case definition for measles but for which no adequate blood specimen was taken and which has not been linked to another case positive for measles-specific IgM (or Immunoglobulin M, a basic antibody) or another laboratory-confirmed communicable disease.”

On the other hand, ‘laboratory-confirmed cases’ were those “with a positive laboratory test result for measles-specific IgM antibodies or other approved laboratory testing methods.”

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