DOH: Over 11,000 measles cases, 189 deaths in Philippines

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 21 2019 10:29 PM | Updated as of Feb 21 2019 10:50 PM

Parents care for their children, mostly infants, being treated for measles at the Pediatric Ward of the San Lazaro Hospital. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA (UPDATED) — In less than two months, more than 11,000 people have contracted measles while 189 have died because of the disease, the Department of Health (DOH) said on Thursday.

The DOH said it recorded 11,459 confirmed cases of measles, with 189 fatalities from Jan. 1 to Feb. 20 this year.

The latest figure is 2,000 cases higher than the DOH's last measles surveillance on Feb. 18.

The National Capital Region recorded the highest number of cases with 2,936 and 52 deaths followed by Calabarzon with 2,635 cases and 61 deaths.

Most of the fatalities had no immunization for measles.

The DOH earlier declared an outbreak of measles in Calabarzon, Metro Manila, Central Luzon, Western Visayas, and Central Visayas.

Duque earlier said the outbreak in the regions may wane in April.

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 DOH.

Symptoms of measles include fever, reddening of the eyes, cough and colds, and red rashes, the agency added.

Unvaccinated children aged 5 and below are at highest risk of the disease, Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo earlier said. Measles vaccine is usually given to children aged 6 months and above, and parents of those younger must be extra cautious.

Free vaccine against measles is available in government hospitals and health centers. -- Report from Michael Delizo, ABS-CBN News