Measles cases in region up by 1,481 percent


BAGUIO CITY – The Cordillera office of the Department of Health (DOH-CAR) reported over 1,481 percent increase in measles cases in the different parts of the region for the first four months of this year after recording some 680 cases during the period compared to the only 43 measles cases registered during the same period last year.

Karen Lonogan, senior health program officer of the DOH-CAR’s regional epidemiology and surveillance unit, said that there were 3 reported measles-related death this year compared to the zero deaths last year which was a 300 percent increase in terms of deaths due to measles.

Based on the data obtained from the DOH-CAR, Benguet registered the highest number of measles cases with 267 cases followed by Baguio city with 250 cases; Apayao – 61 cases, Abra – 46 cases, Ifugao – 22 cases, Mountain Province – 19 cases and Kalinga – 15 cases.

Last year, Apayao recorded the highest number of recorded measles cases with 18 cases followed by Benguet and Ifugao with 6 cases each, Benguet – 5 cases, Mountain Province – 4 cases, Abra – 3 cases and Kalinga – 1 case.

Lonogan reported that all the measles-related deaths were from Benguet and that they were also below the age of children that are supposed to be vaccinated for the illness.

Among the age groups of individuals who were reported to have contracted measles during the reckoning period include 9 months – 119, 9 months to 1 year old – 51, 1 to 4 years old – 120, 5 to 9 years old – 49, 10 to 14 years old – 27 cases; 15 to 19 years old – 74 cases, 20-24 – 106 cases and 25 years old – 134 cases.

Of the reported measles cases, 354 cases were said to be individuals that were unvaccinated, 268 individuals were said to be vaccinated while 58 persons were either vaccinated or unvaccinated as per the DOH-Car report.

The symptoms of measles generally appear about seven to 14 days after a person is infected.

Measles typically begins with high fever, cough, runny nose (coryza), and

red, watery eyes (conjunctivitis).

Two or three days after symptoms begin, tiny white spots (Koplik spots) may appear inside the mouth.

Mouth of a patient with Koplik spots, an early sign of measles infection.

Three to five days after symptoms begin, a rash breaks out. It usually begins as flat red spots that appear on the face at the hairline and spread downward to the neck, trunk, arms, legs, and feet. Small raised bumps may also appear on top of the flat red spots. The spots may become joined together as they spread from the head to the rest of the body. When the rash appears, a person’s fever may spike to more than 104 Fahrenheit.

Skin of a patient after 3 days of measles infection.

Earlier, health authorities conducted a massive measles immunization on children aged 6 months to 12 years old to ensure that they will be protected from contracting the said illness which has rapidly increased over the past several months in different parts of the country that caused alarm among health officials assigned in different health units around the archipelago.

By Dexter A. See