MALASIQUI, Pangasinan – The Ilocos Region has recorded 138 measles cases from January to November 24 this year based on the data of the Department of Health Center for Health Development regional office (DOH-CHD-1).

In an interview on Monday, DOH-CHD-1 medical officer Dr. Rheuel Bobis said this is 160 percent higher than the 53 cases recorded in the same period last year.

Bobis said of the total number of cases this year, 61 were from Pangasinan, 42 from La Union, 16 from Ilocos Sur and 19 from Ilocos Norte.

He attributed the increase to the low coverage of vaccination against measles and the easing of restrictions particularly on the use of face masks.

“The wearing of face masks could prevent other respiratory infectious diseases, such as measles. With the low coverage of measles vaccination, the higher the risk or chances of a measles epidemic in the future,” he added.

Bobis said they are working on boosting the inoculation against measles among children.

“During the onset of the pandemic, there was not enough access to the vaccination centers but now, we encourage the parents whose children have missed their immunization to go to the nearest health center and avail of the measles vaccine for free,” he said.

A nationwide measles immunization drive will be held next year, he added.

Bobis also warned the parents that measles could lead to death if not given proper medical attention.

“If your children have the symptoms such as fever, rashes, cough and colds, as well as weak body and loss of appetite, they should be taken immediately to the nearest center or hospital,” he said.

Measles is an infectious disease that could be transferred through the respiratory droplets. (PNA)