GenSan steps up moves to contain measles outbreak

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/12 November) — Health personnel here are targeting to fully contain in the next few weeks the continuing measles outbreak in parts of the city.

Dr. Edgardo Sandig, City Health Office (CHO) chief, said Wednesday their measles immunization activities are currently ongoing in several barangays that have registered increasing cases of suspected measles.

He said they have so far recorded a total of 412 suspected measles cases and one fatality since January within the city’s 26 barangays.

CHO, which earlier declared a measles outbreak in the city, identified the fatality as Joana Arocalim of Purok Shariff Mocsin in Barangay Baluan.

Most of the suspected measles cases, which mainly affected infants and children aged six months to 12 years old, were reported from communities in portions of Barangays San Isidro, Lagao, Labangal, Apopong and Calumpang.

Barangay Labangal posted the most number of cases with 63, followed by Calumpang with 60, Lagao with 43, San Isidro with 34 and Apopong with 29.

Sandig said they have scheduled the continuing immunization activities every Wednesday in all health centers in the city.

“If we will be able to achieve 100 percent vaccination rate among our children from birth and until they reach one year-old, the chance of outbreaks will be very minimal,” he said.

CHO had covered around 68,00 infants and children in the area who are aged nine months to four years and 11 months-old in the mass immunization activity for measles, rubella and polio last September.

The activity, which was extended until October 10, was supported by the Department of Health (DOH) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

In 2013, the city health office recorded just five cases of measles, two of which later turned out positive for rubella or German measles.

A single confirmed or positive case of measles is already considered by the DOH and the WHO as an outbreak.

The DOH Region 12′s regional epidemiology and surveillance unit reported that a total of 121 suspected measles cases were recorded in the entire region last year.

In the first six months of the year, DOH-12 already recorded a total of 1,575 measles cases and nine deaths in the entire region. (MindaNews)