• UPDATE: Health dept declares measles outbreak in Taguig


    THE Department of Health (DoH) on Thursday announced a measles outbreak in a village in Taguig City after seven cases, mostly children, were reported within two weeks of surveillance.

    Health Undersecretary Rolando Enrique Domingo said that seven cases have been monitored and that the DoH has responded accordingly.

    “We have seven cases of measles in a [village]in Taguig in the past two weeks. We have a response team to investigate and work to stop transmission of the disease. All the children are fine,” he said in text message.

    Domingo said that while the number may be small, the DoH decided to declare an outbreak because the country has not experienced one for the longest time.

    “Measles is a vaccine preventable disease and we should have zero cases. So even if we have just one to two cases it is considered an outbreak and transmission must be controlled,” he said.

    Domingo urged parents to have their children vaccinated.

    Last week, the Health Department declared an outbreak in Zamboanga City, prompting the agency and the local government to launch a massive immunization program in villages.

    Health Secretary Francisco Duque 3rd attributed the outbreak to low vaccine coverage.

    “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,” he said.

    Duque in February told a Senate hearing that vaccine coverage dropped by 30 percent in some areas because of the vaccine scare.

    Parents have been refusing to have their children injected with vaccines after the fiasco over Dengvaxia, an anti-dengue drug that has been linked to at least three deaths.

    Sanofi Pasteur, manufacturer of Dengvaxia, belatedly told the government that the vaccine posed a risk to recipients who would be infected with dengue for the first time.
    The disclosure came after the drug was administered to more than 800,000 people, mostly children, in 2016, as part of the government’s P3.5 billion immunization program that was implemented during the term of then president Benigno Aquino 3rd.

    Health Secretary Francisco Duque suspended the program as the Senate and the House of Representatives conduct separate inquiries into the controversy. KENNETH HERNANDEZ



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