MANILA – The country has logged 2,594 measles and rubella cases for the first 11 months of this year.
In a message to reporters on Friday, the Department of Health (DOH) said data from Jan. 1 to Nov. 25 translates to a 335-percent increase, or from 596 cases in the same period last year.
“Cases are currently showing a steady uptrend, with cases in the recent three to four weeks (Oct. 29 to Nov. 11) at 6 percent higher. Additionally, a total of 442 cases were reported in the recent four weeks,” the DOH said.
At the regional level, Ilocos Region, Calabarzon, and Zamboanga Peninsula showed continuous increase in the recent six-week period (Oct. 15 to Nov 25), while the National Capital Region, Central Luzon, Bicol Region, Davao Region, Soccsksargen, and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao showed case increases in the recent three to four weeks, reporting two to 253 new cases in the recent four weeks.
For the same period, there were also 16 deaths related to measles and rubella, compared to zero deaths for the same period last year.
Measles and rubella can be prevented by vaccines. Children from nine to 59 months or under five years old should be protected through vaccination to keep cases low.
Last May, the DOH implemented Measles-Rubella-bivalent Oral Polio vaccine supplemental immunization activity for a month to mitigate the impending risk of a measles outbreak among children under five years old.
The agency was able to vaccinate 8,164,031 or 84 percent of the target population.
Meantime, partial unofficial data on the coverage for two doses of measles-containing vaccine is at 45.52 percent as of September 2023.
Since quality supplemental immunization activity requires 90 percent coverage of the target population, the DOH urges all sectors and units of government to work together, using primary health care as a platform to reach and vaccinate every missed child. (PNA)