Friday, February 7, 2014

DOH Update #1

Republic of the Philippines
Legazpi City
Trunk line (052) 4835656, 4830934, 4830935, 4835659, 4830840 FAX local no. 104
Email address:

January 14, 2014

Municipal Local Government Units (MLGU) should strive harder to conduct active immunization activities against vaccine-preventable diseases, especially against measles, to reach every child in every purok of each barangay.

Immunizing door-to-door, in addition to the fixed site strategy will minimize missing an eligible child for vaccination and track down missed children of previous years, DOH CHD Bicol Director Gloria J. Balboa said today.

Eligible children for vaccination who did not receive their measles vaccines during their childhood, especially at the age of 6 months to less than 5 years old, form part of a ‘pool of susceptible” where cases of measles may originate. And that is where an outbreak may occur, she said.

For 2014 there are 28 measles cases suspects broken down as follows: Albay province, 12; Camarines Sur 14, and 2 suspects in Sorsogon province. Masbate reported a single case while none were reported from Catanduanes and Camarines Norte.

Meantime, the DOH CHD Bicol issued a health advisory on measles for the information of the public.

The first sign of measles is usually high fever, which begins about 10 to 12 days after exposure to the virus, and lasts four to seven days.

• Runny nose, cough, red and watery eyes, and small white spots inside the cheeks can develop in the initial stage.

• After several days, a red rash erupts, usually on the face and upper neck. Over about three days, the rash spreads, eventually reaching the hands and feet. The rash lasts for five to six days, and then fades.

On average, the rash occurs 14 days after exposure to the virus (within a range of seven to 18 days).

Severe measles is more likely among poorly nourished young children, especially those with insufficient vitamin A, or whose immune systems have been weakened by HIV/AIDS or other diseases.


Most measles-related deaths are caused by complications associated with the disease. Complications are more common in children under the age of five, or adults over the age of 20.

The most serious complications include:
• severe respiratory infections such as pneumonia
• severe diarrhea and related dehydration
• encephalitis (an infection that causes brain swelling)
• ear infections
• blindness

As high as 10% of measles cases result in death among populations with high levels of malnutrition and a lack of adequate health care. Women infected while pregnant are also at risk of severe complications and the pregnancy may end in miscarriage or preterm delivery. People who recover from measles are immune for the rest of their lives.

Who is at risk?

• Unvaccinated infants and young children are at highest risk of measles and its complications, including death.
• Unvaccinated pregnant women are also at risk.
• Any non-immune person (who has not been vaccinated or was vaccinated but did not develop immunity) can become infected.
Measles outbreaks can be particularly deadly in countries experiencing or recovering from a natural disaster or conflict. Damage to health infrastructure and health services interrupts routine immunization, and overcrowding in residential camps greatly increases the risk of infection.


• The virus is spread by coughing and sneezing
• close personal contact or direct contact with infected nasal or throat secretions.
The virus remains active and contagious in the air or on infected surfaces for up to two hours. It can be transmitted by an infected person from four days prior to the onset of the rash to four days after the rash erupts.


• No specific antiviral treatment exists for measles virus.
• Severe complications from measles can be avoided though supportive care that ensures good nutrition, adequate fluid intake and treatment of dehydration with WHO-recommended oral rehydration solution.
This solution replaces fluids and other essential elements that are lost through diarrhoea or vomiting. Antibiotics should be prescribed to treat eye and ear infections, and pneumonia.

• All children in developing countries diagnosed with measles should receive two doses of vitamin A supplements, given 24 hours apart. This treatment restores low vitamin A levels during measles that occur even in well-nourished children and can help prevent eye damage and blindness. Vitamin A supplements have been shown to reduce the number of deaths from measles by 50%.


• Routine measles vaccination for children, combined with mass immunization campaigns in countries with high case and death rates, are key public health strategies to reduce global measles deaths.
• The measles vaccine has been in use for over 40 years. It is safe, effective and inexpensive.
• The measles vaccine is often incorporated with rubella and/or mumps vaccines in countries where these illnesses are problems. It is equally effective in the single or combined form.



Regional Director

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