MANILA (2nd UPDATE) - An outbreak of measles has hit 7 towns in Negros Oriental, its Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO) confirmed Monday.
Among the affected areas were Bacong, Dumaguete City, Mabinay, San Jose, Santa Catalina, Siaton and Valencia, Dr. Leilan Estacion of the IPHO said in a phone interview with ABS-CBN News.
There have been no measles-related deaths in these areas so far, she said.
Measles is an infectious disease that can cause death among infants as young as 3 months old. Colder temperatures typically cause a spike in cases of the illness, symptoms of which include skin rashes and fever, authorities have said.
The Department of Health also confirmed measles outbreaks in a Taguig village last week and in Davao City last month.
The Department of Health earlier sought to allay fears amid reports of measles outbreak in some parts of the country.
"Nasa elimination phase na tayo ng tigdas," Health Assistant Secretary Eric Tayag said in an interview with Bandila DZMM.
Cases of measles, locally known as tigdas, were reduced because of high level of immunization coverage against the disease.
"Isang kaso lang, isa na pong outbreak," Tayag said.
Though there's no cause for alarm, especially for parents whose children already received vaccination, he said it still important to take precaution.
A supplementary immunization activity, known as catch-up vaccination, will be conducted to areas with measles outbreak.
Measles, Tayag said, is highly contagious and is normally passed through direct contact.
"90 percent ang secondary attack rate. Lahat mahahawa, lalo na kung hindi nabakunahan," he said.
Signs to look out for are cold, cough, and sore eyes.
Because children are vulnerable, Tayag encouraged parents to administer an oral dose of vitamin A to their kids.
Unvaccinated young children are at highest risk against the disease.
Its serious complications include severe diarrhea, pneumonia, and blindness.
Tayag urged parents to bring their children to health centers for anti-measles vaccination.
Measles vaccines, he said, should be administered twice.
First shot must be taken when a child is nine months old and to be followed when the child reach the age of 12 months to 18 months. - with a report from Annie Perez, ABS-CBN News