GenSan alarmed over increasing measles cases

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 8 Feb) – Health personnel are closely monitoring several villages here due to the increasing cases of measles infection since last month.

Dr. Mely Lastimoso, chief of the City Health Office’s epidemiology and surveillance unit (CESU), said Friday they already recorded a total of 26 suspected measles cases since Jan. 1 in the entire city.

She said such figure was higher by about 767 percent when compared to the three cases monitored in the same period last year.

The affected barangays include Tambler, Mabuhay. Labangal, Fatima, Calumpang and Siguel, which posted the most number of infections with 11, she said.

Siguel, a coastal barangay, is located at the city’s boundary with Maasim town in Sarangani province.

Lastimoso attributed the rise in measles cases to the city’s high in-migration rate, which included households or families with children who were not yet immunized for measles, rubella and other diseases.

She said some of these families are regular transients and just stay in the city for a certain period before transferring to other places.

“In most cases, their children would miss the immunization schedule and the follow-up activities,” she said in an interview over a TV Patrol South Central Mindanao.

Lastimoso said there were also cases wherein unimmunized infants below nine months old visited areas that had measles cases and eventually got infected.

Measles vaccines are only given to children aged nine months and above.

“Because they are not yet eligible for the vaccine, they are vulnerable to infection,” she said, adding that there are even cases involving infants under six months olds.

In 2018, CESU recorded a total of 163 suspected measles cases in the city and with two confirmed fatalities.

Most of the cases, which spiked in the last quarter of the year, were recorded in Barangays Calumpang, Fatima, Sinawal, Labangal and Apopong. (MindaNews)