BAGUIO CITY – Health authorities reported that measles cases in the Cordillera drastically increased by a whopping 904 percent for the first seven weeks of the year compared to the number of reported and confirmed measles cases during the same period last year.
Based on the data obtained from the Cordillera office of the Department of Health (DOH-CAR), there were 211 measles cases regionwide for the first 7 weeks of this year compared to the 21 measles cases for the same period last year.
Baguio City recorded the highest number of measles cases with 119 followed by Benguet with 60 cases, Abra – 12 cases, Apayao – 8 cases, Ifugao and Mountain Province with 5 cases each and Kalinga with 2 cases.
Last year, Apayao and Ifugao recorded the highest number of measles cases with 5 cases each followed by Baguio City with 4 cases, Benguet – 3 and Abra and Kalinga with 1 case each.
However, health experts claimed that there were no measles-related deaths that were reported in the region during the reckoning periods.
In terms of age groups, 9-month old infants recorded the highest number of individuals who contracted measles with 43 followed by those aged 25 with 42, 20-24 years old – 35; 1-4 years old – 34; 9 months to 1 year old – 18; 15-19 years old – 16; 5 – 9 years old – 15; and 10 – 14 years old – 8.
According to the health officials, the age range of those who contracted measles is from 1 month to 39 years old with a median of 4 years wherein more males or 53 percent were affected.
Further, there were 85 or 89 percent of the total cases who were vaccinated with measles containing vaccine while 111 or 54 percent of the reported cases were not actually vaccinated and 11 or 5 percent of the cases were unknown-.
The health department explained that there were 65 laboratory confirmed measles cases, with 27 or 41 percent female and 38 or 58 percent males and that most cases have ages less than 9 months or 23 percent.
Among the signs and symptoms of measles include fever, dry cough, running nose, sore throat, inflamed eyes or conjunctivitis and tiny white spots with bluish-white centers on a red background found inside the mouth on the inner lining of the cheek also called koplik’s spots.
Measles is a childhood infection caused by a virus. Once quite common, measles can now almost always be prevented with a vaccine.
Also called rubeola, measles can be serious and even fatal for small children. While death rates have been falling worldwide as more children receive the measles vaccine, the disease still kills more than 100,000 people a year, most under the age of 5.
Health experts advised parents of children aged 6 to 9 months to have their children vaccinated for the first dose of the measles vaccine and for them to have their children avail of the second dosage when they reach 12 months old so that they will be fully protected against contracting the dreaded illness. Children who complete the two dosages of the measles vaccine will be spared from contracting the illness unlike those who were vaccinated once or none at all..
Moreover, parents were also advised to immediately consult the experts from the nearest health facility in their place once their children show signs and symptoms of the illness for them to be appropriately diagnosed. By Dexter A. See