GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/13 February) – Health personnel in South Cotabato have stepped up their monitoring and vaccination activities against measles as suspected cases continued to increase since last month.
Dr. Rogelio Aturdido Jr., chief of the Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO), said Wednesday they already recorded at least 39 cases of measles infection from Jan. 1 to Feb. 11 in six of the province’s 10 towns and lone city.
He said Polomolok town posted the most number of cases with 26 and with one fatality, followed by Koronadal City with four, Norala and Banga with three each, Tampakan with two and Surallah with one.
A four-month-old baby, Roserie Caga, from Polomolok succumbed last Sunday to complications caused by suspected measles.
There were no reported measles cases so far in the municipalities of Tantangan, Tupi, Sto. Nino, Lake Sebu and T’boli.
“South Cotabato is one of the hotspots (for measles), in Region 12 (Soccsksargen) in general. We cannot just sleep on it,” he said in an interview over TV Patrol South Central Mindanao.
Citing a report from the IPHO’s epidemiology and surveillance unit, Aturdido said most of the cases involved infants and children, with the youngest at four months-old.
There were also cases reported among adults, with the oldest case involving a 40 year-old, he said.
“Most of the patients did not have history of immunization for measles,” Aturdido said.
The IPHO recorded at least 128 suspected measles cases during the first half of 2018, with two deaths reported in Koronadal City and T’boli town.
The official said they are currently conducting catch-up measles immunization activities in the entire province, especially in the affected areas, to prevent further spread of the disease.
He said these activities are being conducted by barangay, municipal and city health teams in coordination with the IPHO.
“It mainly covers infants and children aged nine to 59 months. But there is an advisory lowering the eligibility age to six months in areas with declared outbreaks,” he said.
Aturdido added that the province has enough measles vaccines, which were provided by the Department of Health. (MindaNews)