MANILA (Mabuhay) – One week after issuing an alert on measles in Metro Manila, the Department of Health on Monday started a massive vaccination campaign in the metropolis to protect children from the disease.
In a statement posted on the government website, DOH Metro Manila head Eduardo Janairo said they will not wait for an epidemic to take place before taking action against the disease.
“This is to ensure that virus transmission will be averted. We have an adequate amount of vaccines to provide everyone who needs to be immunized,” Janairo said.
“We will not wait for an epidemic of measles to spread and affect a large number of our children. It must be stopped aggressively so that we can prevent large-scale outbreaks that can lead to serious illness and even death,” he added.
At least three deaths had been reported – up from two last week, the DOH said.
The fatalitites came include a nine-month-old child in Caloocan, a four-month-old in Malabon, and a two-year-old in Muntinlupa.
Janairo said there is still no treatment or cure for measles, adding it is best to have people and their children “vaccinated to be protected.”
“I call on all parents to go to the nearest health center in your community and have your one- to 12-year-old children vaccinated against measles. As parents, we have the responsibility to ensure the health and safety of our children,” Janairo said.
The same statement said the DOH kicked off its campaign at the covered court of Purok Molave in Barangay Addition Hills in Mandaluyong City.
Janairo said measles vaccination teams will be deployed in 17 local government units in Metro Manila regardless of the number of measles cases there.
Last week, the DOH advised residents in Metro Manila to take precautions against measles, after noting deaths and a rise in cases in at least five cities in the National Capital Region.
Janairo cited records showing a rapid rise in measles cases in Las Piñas, Muntinlupa, Caloocan, Manila, and Parañaque Cities.
The DOH said local health officials have started to seek vulnerable children aged 0 to 59 months old in their areas to be vaccinated, so they would not develop the disease.
“Measles is extremely contagious and anyone who is exposed to someone with measles will surely get the disease unless they have been vaccinated or already had measles before. Those who live through a case of measles retain their immunity for life,” the DOH said.
Citing data from its Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Unit, the DOH noted 233 confirmed measles cases from January 1 to December 14.
Janairo earlier advised parents and guardians of children to look out for symptoms including:
common cold symptoms like high fever, cough, runny nose, sore eyes that can last for several days and appearance of a red, blotchy rash.
“If you believe you are exposed to someone with measles, you should observe for measles symptoms to appear after nine days. Some person can be affected immediately before the rash appears four days after being exposed.” he said. (MNS)