DOH records 508% increase in measles cases in Cordillera

BAGUIO, Philippines (UPDATED) – Health officials recorded a 508% increase in the number of measles cases in the Cordillera region from January 1 to February 2 compared to the same period in 2018.

A total of 79 cases were monitored from January 1 to February 2 compared to 13 cases in 2018. No death was recorded.

Amelita Pangilinan, officer-in-charge of the Department of Health-Cordillera Administrative Region (DOH-CAR), said Baguio City recorded the biggest increase at 5,500%, with 56 cases compared to the one case recorded in 2018.

Data provided to the DOH-CAR by the different disease reporting units of the 6 provinces and Baguio City showed that Benguet recorded 14 cases compared to the two cases in 2018 (600% increase); Ifugao recorded a 50% decrease or two cases in 2019, from 4 in 2018; and Apayao recorded a 20% decrease or 4 cases in 2019, from 5 cases in 2018.

Kalinga and Mountain Province have two cases each in 2019, from zero cases in 2018. Abra has not recorded any case this year.

Monitoring report from the Baguio Health Services Office (BHSO) showed that from January 1 to February 8, there were 59 measles cases in 12 districts – an increase of 3 cases from the DOH report as of February 1.

Based on the data provided, residents aged 25 and above comprised 21% of those who got sick of measles during the period; 19% were aged zero to 9 months old; 18% were aged 1 to 4 years old and 20 to 24 years old.

Pangilinan said the DOH-CAR has set a 95% annual target of immunization several years ago. However, records showed low accomplishment rates in the region: 72.5% in 2014, 72.45% in 2015, 67.42% in 2016, and 60.82% in 2017.

DOH-CAR has yet to receive the 2018 accomplishment rates data from the provinces and cities in the region.

The DOH has declared measles outbreaks in Metro Manila as well as in Calabarzon, Central Visayas, and Western Visayas. The DOH earlier included Eastern Visayas, then corrected itself on Monday, February 11, saying that this should be Western Visayas.

Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año on Thursday, February 7, said it was the vaccination scare brought by the Dengvaxia controversy that led to the measles outbreaks. –