DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Health officials in Davao region reported that the number of measles cases this year has decreased compared to the same period last year.
The low number of measles cases is not in the “outbreak threshold” as compared to other areas where outbreaks of said highly contagious disease were already declared.
Data from the Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Unit’s (RESU) of the Department of Health in Davao Region (DOH-11) revealed of the 86 cases of patients suspected to have measles in the region from January 1 to February 10 this year.
The number is much lower compared to the recorded 347 cases in the same period last year, the RESU data added.
An outbreak was also declared in Davao City last year as more than 200 people were affected by measles, RESU said.
In a press conference on Monday, DOH-11 Regional Director Dr. Annabelle P. Yumang said that compared to last year, the number of measles cases in the region decreased to 75 percent.
Despite the situation, Yumang still urged the public not to be complacent as it may go higher if children and infants remain unimmunized.
“That’s why we should be proactive to inform the public, the parents and the guardians to bring their children for immunization,” Yumang said.
In comparative data presented by DOH-11, Davao City has the most number of measles patients this year with a total number of 53 cases with one death.
The number is lower compared to the 89 cases recorded in 2018, the data added.
Davao del Sur province has 20 cases of measles this year compared to only 8 cases last year while Compostela Valley province has a lower number of seven cases of measles with one death this year compared to the 32 cases recorded last year.
In Davao del Norte, the DOH-11 data recorded a total number of five cases of measles this year compared to the 57 cases last year, while Davao Oriental has recorded only of one case of measles this year compared to the 10 cases last year.
Davao Occidental has no available data on cases of measles this year but DOH-11 took note of the single case of measles recorded in the province last year.
Of the 86 reported cases of measles in Region 11 this year, 31 percent of the patients are 8 months old and below; 17 percent belongs to the above 20-year-old group; while the remaining 13 are 9 to 12 months old.
DOH-11 also noted that 51 of the patients are females while 35 of the patients are males with ages ranging from 8 months to 76 years old.
On Monday, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio said the local government is already intensifying its effort to conduct immunizations and awareness campaigns following the measles outbreak that took place last year.
“After the outbreak last year, we have conducted massive immunizations in the communities and we are making sure that the outbreak will not happen again this year,” Mayor Sara said.
Of the more than 141,000 targets for immunization in the region, DOH-11 has already recorded 69 percent of individuals injected with measles-containing vaccines or MCV1 and 62 percent injected with MCV2.
DOH-11 also recorded a total of 67 percent fully immunized in last year’s campaign for immunization and would ensure to achieve a 95 percent vaccination coverage for children to halt measles transmission.
With the extended outbreaks declared in different regions, the resurgence of increasing measles cases will be a serious concern for the DOH.
Yumang said the agency is currently intensifying its effort to further reach all areas in the region for immunization.
DOH-11 is now eyeing to give one dose of MCV and Vitamin A supplement to all 6 to 59 months old children and after a month another dose of MCV to ensure that they can complete the prescribed dosage.
With much attention to the “Dengvaxia scare” over the high number patients to have measles in the country, Yumang said they did not see it “as the reason why the region has cases of measles this year”.
Though it may be the reason for some parents, Yumang said the cases of measles in the region can be attributed to some factors such as the busy parents or guardians who could not allocate some time to get their children vaccinated, moving of address, and travelers coming in and out of the region.
“Parents, guardians, and caregivers are encouraged to make sure that their children have received and will receive the two doses of MCVs,” Yumang emphasized.
The issues on Dengvaxia, Yumang clarified, were already fully answered in last year’s campaign on the intensified immunization program in the region. (davaotoday.com)