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Measles breaks out across the Philippines after Dengvaxia vaccine scare

09 February 2019

On Thursday, Duque declared that there was also outbreak in central and southern Luzon and in central and western Visayas.

QUICK-SPREADING VIRUS A father waits for his measles-stricken child to be admitted to the pediatric ward of San Lazaro Hospital in Sta.

According to the Health Secretary, Francisco Duque III said the high number of cases on low vaccination rates among children was caused by scare triggered by a controversial government dengue vaccine programme in 2017.

More measles cases are being detected in and outside Metro Manila, prompting the Philippine Department of Health (DOH) to expand the declaration of a measles outbreak in several provinces in the Philippine main Luzon island and in the Visayas region in the central Philippines.

The Department of Health said it has seen a 550 percent increase in the number of recorded measle cases in the capital city during the first month of 2019 compared to the year before, ABS-CBN News reported.

For her part, Dr. Renilyn Reyes, medical officer IV of DOH Region 6, said the World Health Organization recommends two shots of the measles vaccine for children to achieve "95 percent protection".

DOH data showed that 10 of the 166 suspected measles cases in the region from January 1 to February 2 this year are confirmed cases.

He said he hoped that as the public saw the effect of avoiding vaccination, parents would have their children inoculated not only to protect them from diseases but also to improve a community's collective immunity. "Supportive measures like building the nutritional status of the sick person and increasing oral rehydration are important measures to increase body resistance and replace lost body fluids caused by coughing, diarrhea, and perspiration", Duque said.

"In this scenario we have a pool of children building up over time who are not protected and who are susceptible to measles", Dr Weiler said.

"To the parents, let's not take the health of our children for granted".

Sen. Risa Hontiveros sought the resignation of Public Attorney's Office chief Persida Acosta, whom she blamed for the measles outbreak that led to the death of at least 55 children. "He was saddened, so he said it should be addressed immediately", Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said.

"I think it might be questioned before the courts somehow", he said.

A health worker prepares a syringe with a vaccine against measles.

Hontiveros claimed that Acosta politicized the Dengvaxia vaccine controversy, which forced parents not to have their children innoculated.

Measles breaks out across the Philippines after Dengvaxia vaccine scare