The number of fatalities due to measles infection in the Philippines has topped 100 during the first 10 months of 2014, according to the WHO Western Pacific Region Measles-Rubella Bulletin fro Oct 2014.

Face of child with measles. Image/CDC
Face of child with measles. Image/CDC

From January 1 through October 20, 2014, the Philippines had reported 102 measles deaths, so high the total accounts for 78 percent of all measles deaths in the region this year (131).

To date, 53,810 suspected cases of measles, including 17,893 confirmed cases have been reported on the archipelago. This is up from  48,777 suspected and confirmed cases one month prior.

Elsewhere in the region, China has reported nearly 100,000 cases, while Vietnam has seen 16,384 suspected measles cases, including 5,281 confirmed cases and 2 measles deaths.

The CDC reports that as of October 31, twenty-three US travelers who returned from the Philippines have become sick with measles. Most of these cases were among unvaccinated people.

CDC recommends that travelers to the Philippines protect themselves by making sure they are vaccinated against measles, particularly infants 6–11 months of age (1 dose of measles vaccine) and children 12 months of age or older (2 doses of measles vaccine). Clinicians should keep measles in mind when treating patients with fever and rash, especially if the patient has recently traveled internationally.

Measles or rubeola, is an acute highly communicable viral disease that is characterized by Koplik spots in the cheek or tongue very early in the disease. A couple of days later a red blotchy rash appears first on the face, and then spreads, lasting 4-7 days. Other symptoms include fever, cough and red watery eyes. The patient may be contagious from four days prior to the rash appearance to four days after rash appearance.

The disease is more severe in infants and adults. Complications from measles which is reported in up to 20% of people infected include; seizurespneumonia, deafness and encephalitis. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page

This year the United States is experiencing a record number of measles cases. From January 1 to October 31, there have been 603 confirmed measles cases reported to CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD). This is the highest number of cases since measles elimination was documented in the U.S. in 2000.

Related: Traveling to the Philippines: preventing infection