The Philippines has experienced a large measles epidemic this year with staggering numbers. One report titled, “Reported measles cases and incidence rates by WHO Member States 2013, 2014 as of 04 August 2014” puts the number at approximately 77,000, another WHO report, the Measles Rubella Bulletin dated July 2104 put the number at about 54,000 cases, suspected and confirmed.

Measles rash Image/CDC
Measles rash
Image/CDC

Either way, the outbreak is significant and has resulted in at least 90 fatalities, according to the Philippines Department of Health (DOH).

This has prompted the DOH to begin a measles vaccination campaign September 1st, called #ligtastigdas, or “Safe measles”, which is set to run through the month of September. Health officials encourage parents to bring their children five years and younger to a local health center for the free measles and polio vaccines.

WATCH DOH video about vaccination campaign

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; seizures, pneumonia, deafness and encephalitis. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page