MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte has urged Filipinos to fight measles by getting their children vaccinated following a big increase in the number of measles cases and deaths in the country.
In a taped video aired on PTV on Friday, Duterte said: “Mga kababayan, dumadami ang kaso ng tigdas at ang komplikasyon nito ay mamatay ka. Sa mga anak natin, bakuna lamang ang tanging paraan makaiwas sa sakit na ito. Maraming salamat."
For January 1 to February 9, 2019, some 4,300 individuals, got infected with measles with 70 deaths, said Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo. In the National Capital Region alone, there were 575 cases with 9 deaths.
The outbreak of the disease in areas across the country was due to several factors, principally the low immunization rate in the last 5 years, aggravated in 2018 by parents’ fear of the dengue vaccine's side effects following the Dengvaxia controversy.
Measles, caused by a virus that infects the respiratory tract, can be passed through direct contact and through the air. Its complications include severe diarrhea, pneumonia, blindness, and even death, according to the Department of Health.
Symptoms of measles include fever, reddening of the eyes, cough and colds, and red rashes, the DOH said.