GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/06 Jan.) — The Department of Education (DepEd) in Region 12 directed local school personnel to monitor possible cases of measles among students and pupils as regular classes officially resumed on Monday.
Dr. Allan Farnazo, acting DepEd-12 director, said the region-wide monitoring is in line with the continuing measles outbreak in parts of Metro Manila that already affected hundreds of residents, mostly children.
He said such move was based on an order issued to the DepEd regional offices by DepEd Undersecretary Tonisito Umali.
Farnazo specifically ordered teachers to check for possible cases of persistent fever and rashes, which are the main symptoms of measles, among their students and pupils.
“Those who have these symptoms should be advised to refrain from attending their classes and immediately seek proper treatment,” he said.
He said those possibly infected with measles should be excused from their classes until they are healed or cleared of the infection to prevent the disease from spreading.
Although there is currently no reported measles outbreak in the region, the official said they are not discounting the possibility that some residents could have contracted the disease that caused the outbreak in Metro Manila.
He said it’s possible that some students and pupils in the area had travelled or spent some time in the affected areas in Metro Manila during the long Christmas break.
“We’re not taking any chances since the disease is also highly contagious,” Farnazo said.
The Department of Health (DOH) recorded a total of 1,724 measles cases and 21 deaths in the country last year and with 13 of the 17 regions reporting increases in disease incidence. A total of 744 cases were recorded in Metro Manila.
In Region 12, the DOH-12’s epidemiology and surveillance unit recorded a total of 99 suspected measles cases in the first three quarters of the year.
Region 12 comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.
The disease, which is classified as measles-rubella, affected residents aged six months years to
64 years-old but no deaths were reported.
It said 54 percent of the cases were females and more than half or 53 percent had history of measles immunization. (MindaNews)