In the face of the current measles outbreak in Zamboanga City, the Department of Health has appealed to the public to give back their trust and confidence on vaccination.
The government’s immunization programs have suffered a huge setback following the Dengvaxia controversy that still hasn’t come to a resolution until now.
“Although some sectors may attribute the outbreak to the Dengvaxia issue, it is actually the result of low measles vaccine coverage in the past years which led to the accumulation of susceptible individuals,” said Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III.
Surveillance reports showed that the inflation in measles cases in Zamboanga City started in August 2017. In 2018, thus far, a total of 166 cases have been recorded.
The lone fatality recorded is a six-month-old baby boy who died on February 6, 2018. After thorough investigation of the case, it has been found that the deceased presented indications of measles including fever, rash, cough, coryza, conjunctivitis, malaise, and dyspnea.
In a statement, the health department said that there was a low measles vaccine coverage in the area.
Thus, Duque advised the parents to “immediately isolate children with fever and rashes and seek consultation for those with complications such as pneumonia or diarrhea and for health workers to seek laboratory confirmation for suspect cases.”
He also reiterated that despite the shortcoming of Dengvaxia, vaccination remains as the best protection against measles and several diseases as well as appealed to the parents and guardians to follow the vaccination guidelines and ensure that their children are receiving complete doses of measles vaccine.
“Let us not lose sight of the benefits that other vaccines have provided to us,” appealed Duque. “These have been proven to be very effective in preventing diseases as we have seen in the past,” he added.
Furthermore, the agency reminded hospitals to ensure strict implementation of infection control mechanism to prevent proliferation of the disease in health facilities.
Amidst the pressing health concerns that the country is currently facing, the DOH vowed to firmly stand with the public in every step of the way and is determined to win every fight in the name of public health. Lyka Mae P. Chiang