Measles cases in Davao City up

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 4 March) – The cases of suspected measles in Davao city have risen from 226 in February 20 to 280 cases as of March 3, the City Health Office reported.

Eight of the suspected cases have been confirmed, according to the monitoring of the City Epidemeology and Surveillance Unit (CESU) in hospitals, health stations and health centers.

The confirmed cases are residents of Agdao, Bunawan, Sasa, Talomo North, Toril, and Tugbok districts. The data may reflect either an increase in cases of measles or an increase in surveillance reports, the CESU said.

The Department of Health said recently that there were 14 confirmed measles cases in the region as of February.

The CESU data added that there were only 26 confirmed cases for the entire 2013, and only one case in 2012.

There were 141 suspected measles cases in 2013 and 159 in 2012.

For this year’s confirmed cases, Agdao and Talomo North had two each, while the rest having one each as of Monday.

In an interview, Cith Health Officer Josephine J. Villafuerte said the districts were in charge of improving vaccinations of residents in areas with both high and low immunization coverage.

However, she added the city would be relying on the Department of Health’s supply.

“The department has assured us that there will be an adequate supply for the immunization in different barangays in the city,” Villafuerte said.

In the past four years, CESU data said the highest incidence so far was in 2011 with 414 suspected and 72 confirmed measles cases.

The highest incidence of measles from among the suspected cases were children aged one to four at 33 percent. Lowest incidence was for children aged 10 to 14, at four percent. Those aged 15 years and above comprised 31 percent of the total

The suspected cases comprised 51 percent male and 49 percent female.

Villafuerte said that ideally, each barangay should have an immunity percentage of 95 percentage, with the other 5 percent going to private hospitals.

Asked where the city was in terms of immunity percentage, Villafuerte said it was only around 80 percent.

“But there’s such a thing as ‘herd immunity’,” Villafuerte said, referring to a community’s ability to arm itself from diseases from external factors.

She added that a herd immunity also helped in the prevention of the spread of disease to other areas because a large majority of the community would no longer be able to carry it outside.

Villafuerte said that the district health offices are in charge of case finding and outbreak response immunizations.

The CESU reported that the priority for immunizations would be children aged 9-59 months.

Villafuerte said some of the vaccines come from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), with the DOH adding to the supply through a bulk procurement.

Abdullah Dumama Jr., DOH director for the Center for Health Development, said last week there was a child who died who exhibited symptoms of the virus. The child died from community acquired pneumonia and diarrhea.

The baby had the onset of symptoms on Feb. 7 but was only sent to the hospital on Feb. 21.