Pakistanis advised to avoid non-essential travel to Philippines after Measles Outbreak

Anne Curtis was named UNICEF national goodwill ambassador on Thursday. Shiela Reyes ABS-CBN News

Anne Curtis was named UNICEF national goodwill ambassador on Thursday. Shiela Reyes ABS-CBN News

The DOH recorded 525 cases with nine deaths in Calabarzon (Region IV-A); 441 with four deaths in NCR; 192 cases with four deaths in Central Luzon (Region III); 104 cases and three deaths in Western Visayas (Region VI); and 71 cases with one death in Central Visayas (Region VII). For the whole year of 2018, NCR registered 3,646 measles cases as compared to 351 cases in 2017.

Manila - The health department in the Philippines announced on Thursday an outbreak of measles in the Manila metropolitan area and other regions that has caused 22 deaths.

In the eastern part of central Philippines, the uptick has been as high as 5,000 per cent, from just a single case a year ago to 54 as of Jan 26.

Records showed that as of Tuesday, the government-run San Lazaro Hospital in Manila has admitted 1,504 patients for measles, 1,355 of were children and teenagers.

Dr Gundo Weiler, World Health Organisation (WHO) representative to the Philippines, said immunisation rates were well below the target of 95% and decreasing.

Dr. Ryan Llorin, an Infectious Diseases specialist at St. Luke's Medical Center, attributes the uptick in measles cases primarily to the Dengvaxia controversy.

In November 2017, news of potential side effects of the dengue vaccine caused public outrage in the Philippines and political unrest, causing the public to lose trust in all vaccines, Asian Scientist reported. It is transferred from person-to-person by sneezing, coughing, and close personal contact.

Aside from bronchopneumonia, other complications include diarrhea, middle ear infection, encephalities or swellling of the brain, malnutrition and blindness which may lead to death.

"Learning from the UNICEF family about the outbreak of the measles, you know, this is why it's very important to have proper immunization", Curtis said during an event by UNICEF. "At the same time, if you get infected, you can pass it on to a lot of people". You think it's a simple flu, cough, colds, it turns out, it's measles. "The requirement for childhood vaccination is 2 doses of MMR vaccine, and that vaccination schedule is 99% effective-meaning, you are practically protected".

Juanico noted the low turnout of the measles immunization coverage for children less than a year old.

The Country had recently carried out successfully the largest ever measles vaccination campaign for children across Pakistan.

Measles is a highly contagious airborne disease which spreads easily through coughs and sneezes.

He advises everyone, "Try to avoid people who are sick, and if you are sick, it's better to stay at home so you won't infect others".

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