Seeing the rise of cases of measles in the region, the Department of Health (DOH) Bicol intensified its prevention campaign and urged the public to avail vaccines. According to DOH, unvaccinated children and pregnant women are among the population with increased risk of acquiring measles.
The DOH Bicol has recorded 197 cases from January to September this year, which is a 194% spike from the 67 cases from 2017. Masbate holds the highest record among the other provinces with 69 cases as of date, followed by Camarines Sur – 60, Camarines Norte – 41, Albay – 12, Sorsogon – 12, and Catanduanes - 3. The DOH attributes the rise of cases to the public’s resistance to vaccination.
“The increasing trend of cases of measles in Bicol is alarming and that is why we are strengthening our information caravan to increase the level of awareness of the general public regarding tigdas (measles), as well emphasize the importance of getting vaccinated as part of the prevention method,” said Regional Director of DOH Bicol, Dr. Napoleon Arevalo. He also advised the public to seek and avail vaccines from Supplemental Immunization Activities of DOH.
“Currently, there is no specific antiviral treatment for measles so the best that we can do here is make sure we prevent it, the MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella) vaccine is 93% effective at preventing measles and we included it in our Basta Wednesday Bakuna Day program,” he added.
Complications from measles can be serious and even fatal resulting in blindness, severe diarrhea, respiratory infections such as pneumonia, encephalitis or the acute inflammation of the brain, and even death.
DOH Bicol assured that it would continue its information and education campaign on the prevention of measles in the region. Part of the strategy that DOH employs is the routine measles vaccination for children through school health caravan, and fixed house-to-house immunization.
DOH Bicol Family Health Cluster Head, Dr. Rita Mae Ang-Bon reminded that vaccines are safe and further encouraged stakeholders to help their immunization program.
“We want to inform everyone that vaccines are safe and it is the primary prevention for measles. We also have ongoing campaigns in schools and communities and we would need everyone’s support in order to make Bicol tigdas-free,” said Ang-Bon.