Rising measles cases noted in Sarangani

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 14 Feb) – Health personnel in Sarangani Province are closely monitoring several villages in at least two municipalities due to the rising cases of measles since last month.

Dr. Arvin Alejandro, Provincial Health Office chief, said they have dispatched teams to treat cases of suspected measles and conduct immunization activities in Alabel and Malungon towns to control the spread of the disease.

He said that since the first week of January, they have already recorded a total of 48 cases of measles in the entire province.

The official said most of these cases were mainly from two areas, barangays Poblacion of Alabel and Poblacion of Malungon.

“About 85 to 90 of the cases involved infants and children who were not immunized for measles,” he said in an interview over Brigada News FM here.

Alejandro said such situation was also found among children in other areas where measles cases were reported since last year.

He cited the outbreak from November to December in Barangay Upper Suyan, Malapatan town that killed 23 children and affected 144 residents.

Citing their records, he said about 95 percent of the children infected with measles in Upper Suyan had no history of immunization.

Alejandro admitted that there were areas that were not reached by health teams during the immunization activities last year due to their remoteness and inaccessibility because of security problems.

He said some parents refused immunization for their children due to the Dengvaxia controversy.

Alejandro said they consider the current measles incidence in the area as “alarming” and are regularly updating the Department of Health (DOH)-Region 12 and central office to facilitate the needed interventions.

Last Monday, he said the DOH relayed guidelines to their office for the conduct of massive measles immunization.

Infants and children aged 9 to 59 months should be immunized for measles, which is given in two doses, he said.

Alejandro assured that the province has enough supply of vaccines and these were already distributed to the province’s seven municipal health offices.

“We’re not just focusing our immunization activities on infants and children. We’re also covering unimmunized adults, especially mothers, to ensure that households are protected,” he added. (MindaNews)