Measles vaccination here reaches 98.8% coverage
posted 23-Apr-2019  ·  
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Local health officials last week announced that the concerted effort to address rising cases of measles bore fruit, with 98.8 percent of children aged six to 59 months already vaccinated.

The school-based vaccination accomplishment was a bit lower at 89.52% following the end of the school year but Rural Health Unit personnel and barangay health workers are seeking out the unvaccinated school children in their homes, the Department of Health regional office and the Provincial Health Office reported in a press conference at Rakdell Inn last April 12, 2019.

As of that day, there were 15 confirmed measles cases in the province, with all of those stricken unvaccinated, Provincial Health Officer II Dr. Hazel Palmes disclosed, with the 15th case a recent arrival from Manila. Fortunately, none of the cases resulted in death.

In the entire region, according to the DOH, a total of 919 cases with nine deaths have been recorded. It noted that of the number, only 283 were found to have been vaccinated. Albay had the most number of cases with 289, followed by Camarines Sur with 269 while Sorsogon and Masbate had 164 and 129 cases respectively.

Dr. Palmes bared that based on the records, coverage of measles vaccination in Catanduanes for the period 2015 to 2019 is very low at just 39%, the lowest in the region compared to that of six provinces and three cities.

“The number of measles cases here is a reflection of poor vaccination coverage 25 to 29 years ago,” she said.

She urged suspected measles patients to undergo self-quarantine to limit their exposure to the general population. Measures to check the temperature of travelers arriving at ports and the lone airport should be continued, Palmes added.

She likewise informed that the Catanduanes delegation to the Palarong Bicol in Masbate recently cameback and underwent mandatory quarantine with daily monitoring for 21 days. “We are 100% confident that none of the 15 measles cases recorded on the island can be traced back to the delegation,” she stated.

On the other hand, PHO I Dr. Franchette Amabella Panti reported that the number of dengue cases in 2019 increased by 100 percent, with 28 confirmed as of March 30, compared to just 14 in the whole of 2018.

Clustering of cases, with three or more reported in a week, was noted in Gigmoto, San Andres and Viga towns, she said, prompting health officials to advise local governments to implement the 4S strategy and provide logistics such as herbicides, Oliset nets and others to the affected areas.

Health personnel conducted environmental sanitation surveys to identify possible breeding places of disease-carrying mosquitoes following the occurrence of intermittent rains in the past week.

A profile of the reported cases in the region showed that the most affected age group were those 6 to 10 years old, with over half of them male. Of the nine deaths due to dengue, six were female.

The DOH urged those suspected of having dengue fever to report to local hospitals immediately after noting the following conditions: acute fever of 2-7 days duration plus any two of the following symptoms – headache, body malaise, myalgia, arthralgia, retro-orbital pain, anorexia, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, flushed skin, or rash (petechial or Herman’s sign).

The local media was also briefed on health programs being given focus in April: World Immunization Week on the last week aiming to promote the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against disease; Head and Neck Consciousness Week on the prevention, early diagnosis and prompt treatment of head and neck cancer; Hemophilia Awareness Month which seeks to emphasize the need for medical intervention for those affected by bleeding disorder; and, World Malaria Day on April 25 to raise awareness of malaria and raise funds for its treatment and prevention.

Dr. Palmes thanked the media for providing health information to the public, which she said is a very big help for the undermanned health offices in highlighting the need for disease prevention.

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