In a follow-up to a report on the measles outbreak in Davao City in the southern Philippines, Assistant Secretary of Health for Mindanao and Regional Director, Abdullah B. Dumama, Jr. MD wrote the following concerning the outbreak response in the region:
A total of 317 suspected cases of measles were recorded by Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Unit (RESU) of DOH Regional Office XI from January 1 of 2017 to January 19, 2018. It is alarming to note that of these data, 14 were recorded as suspected measles-related deaths that is still for confirmation if the cause is directly related to the complications of Measles or co-incidental. 13 of these deaths are from Davao City and one from Davao del Norte. Of these suspected cases, 49 are from January 1-19, 2018. Most of the cases in the year 2017 spiked in the months of November and December.
To immediately address the ongoing transmission and control the occurrence of wider measles outbreak, an Outbreak Response Immunization (ORI) is being conducted in the affected localities in the region. All children ages 6 months – 59 months, regardless of their vaccination status is given one dose of Measles Containing Vaccine (MCV). House-to-house measles immunization is currently being conducted in affected areas of Davao City. Last December 5-29, 2017, a total of 10,127 children were given MCV. Based on the evaluation, there was a recommendation to continue the house-to-house measles immunization, thus, it was agreed to carry on the activity which started last January 17, 2018 and will end on February 7, 2018. As of January 23, 40,959 children were already given MCV. This weekend, Regional Office staff composed of 25 teams will be deployed to Barangay 23-C to augment the activity and ensure that no child is left unprotected from measles.
In the regular routine immunization, two-dose of MCV is given to children. The first dose is given at the age of 9 months, and the second dose is given at the age of 12 months. However, in the Outbreak Response Immunization, all children aged 6-8 months old shall be given one-dose of MCV and be recorded as zero dose. Then the first dose must be given at 9 months old or at least one-month interval from the last dose, then the second dose shall be given at 12 months old.
We would like to ensure the public that MCV has been used for generations already and is proven safe and very effective. Availability of logistics such as vaccines and syringes are also ensured.
We appeal to our Local Government Officials, volunteers, other stakeholders and partners to help us in the endeavor. Let us stand together to protect our children from threats to their health. These ongoing measles outbreak can be prevented. Help us inform the public that Measles can be prevented through vaccination and they can visit their nearest health centers for the vaccines or for any concerns. Let us do this together and let us leave no child unprotected from Measles.
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