UN and Philippines health officials are advising parents to ensure their children are vaccinated against measles as the number of cases of the viral disease has increased by more than 350 percent in 2018.

Image/WHO Philippines Twitter screenshot
Image/WHO Philippines Twitter screenshot

According to numbers from the World Health Organization (WHO), 17,298 cases have been reported in 2018 to date. This is a 367 percent increase compared to the same period last year (3,706).

“Unvaccinated young children are at highest risk of measles and its complications, including death. Have your children vaccinated at the nearest health center,” the WHO Philippines said on Facebook.

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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.

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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.

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