BAGUIO CITY – The Cordillera office of the Department of Health (DOH-CAR) reported measles cases in the region drastically increased by 1,043 percent for the first twenty eight weeks this year compared to the recorded measles cases during the same period last year.
Dr. Jennifer Joyce R. Pira, medical officer of the DOH-CAR’s health promotions and regional epidemiology surveillance services, said the agency was only able to record 82 measles cases for the first 28 weeks of 2018 but the same significantly increased to some 937 measles cases for the same period this year, a 10-fold increase in the prevalence of measles regionwide.
Further, the medical officer revealed the number of measles-related deaths for the same period also increased to 4 this year compared to the zero measles-related deaths last year.
Pira claimed clustering of measles cases were noted in the different parts of the region where the said cases were reported.
She attributed the significant increase in the number of measles cases to the increasing awareness of the people on the symptoms of illnesses that cause them to immediately seek medical attention from the nearest health facility for appropriate medication, instead of self-medication.
Health authorities explained measles is an acute viral illness caused by the measles virus and characterized by fever, conjunctivitis, cough, coryza and small spots with white or bluish white centers on an erythematous base on the buccal mucosa known as koplik spots.
Measles is reportedly transmitted through direct contact with nasal or throat secretions of infected persons or by articles freshly soiled with the said secretions.
According to experts, the disease is extremely communicable and it is estimated that 90 percent of non-immune people exposed to an infected individual will contract the disease.
DOH-CAR officials urged the public to promptly report all measles suspect cases to the different health facilities in the different parts of the region for the immediate conduct of the necessary investigation to determine the possible cause of positive cases in the provinces to help policy makers and decision makers come out with the necessary strategies to control the spread of the illness that could escalate to epidemic levels once it will not be effectively and efficiently addressed by the authorities concerned.
The health department stated the disease reporting unit in the different provinces, cities and municipalities in the region should make sure every detected case should have a specimen for laboratory confirmation and timely intervention to help prevent the immediate spread of the illness.
Pira appealed to the public to immediately consult the nearest health facility in their places once they experience symptoms of illnesses so that the proper medication will be provided them.
By Dexter A. See