The Department of Health yesterday announced that it is conducting outbreak response immunization in the barangays of nine towns and seven cities in Negros Occidental, including Bacolod City, that have been hit by an upsurge of measles cases.
Dr. Renilyn Reyes, medical coordinator of the DOH Regional Expanded Program on Immunization, said measles cases in Western Visayas from January to June this year have reached 182 cases compared to 110 cases last year, or 65 percent higher.
Of the 182 measles cases in Western Visayas, Negros Occidental accounted for 122 cases or 67 percent and Bacolod City for 39 cases or 21 percent.
Other areas in WV with measles cases are Capiz with nine, Iloilo – 8, Aklan 3, and Antique – 1.
Aside from Bacolod City, areas hit by measles in Negros Occidental are Himamaylan City – 32, Binalbagan – 28, Kabankalan City – 27, La Castellana - 10, Moises Padilla – 6, Isabela – 5, Valladolid – 3, Cauayan – 2 Pontevedra – 2, and one each in Bago City, Candoni, Ilog, Sagay City, San Enrique, Talisay City and Victorias City, Reyes said.
Of the persons hit by measles, 23 percent were 20 years old and above; 24 percent - 16 to 20 years old; 15 percent - 11 to 15 years old; 8 percent – 6 to 10 years old; 9 percent – 1 to 5 years old; 10 percent - 9 to 11 months old; 10 percent - less than 9 months old, she added.
Reyes said that, to halt the upsurge of measles cases in Negros Occidental, outbreak response immunization will be conducted in the barangays affected.
Intensified community surveillance for cases will also be activated, she said, with the support of local chief executives and other stakeholders.
All infants 6 weeks up to 15 weeks old indentified in the list of the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction will also be given two doses of Rotavirus vaccines, Reyes said.
That means 18,800 vaccines for 9,400 target infants in Negros Occidental, she said
Rotavirus is the most common cause of severe diarrheal disease in infants and young children worldwide, Reyes said.
Rotarvirus is very contagious and spreads easily from children who are already infected to other children and sometimes adults, she added
Reyes said the best way to protect a baby from rotavirus disease is with a rotavirus vaccine that is an oral vaccine, not a shot.*CPG