DOH says measles, rubella cases now 153% higher

The Department of Health on Wednesday said the country reported a total of 450 measles and rubella cases from 1 January to 17 September 2022, which was 153 percent higher compared to reported cases during the same period last year.

Citing the data from last year, the Health department said that only 178 cases were reported in 2021.

Most of the reported cases of measles and rubella were from  Calabarzon at 70, followed by Easter Visayas, and National Capital Region, with 70 and 61 cases, respectively. 

From 21 August to 17 September 2022 alone, a total of 68 measles and rubella cases were reported, most of which were from Calabarzon with 16 cases or 24 percent.

A total of five regions comprised of Calabarzon, Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao, and Soccsksargen, showed case increases in the recent four morbidity weeks. 

Two deaths due to viral respiratory illness were reported in August and September.

In addition, the Health department reported that five out of 17 regions in the country such as Cagayan Valley, Calabarzon, Bicol Region, and NCR have surpassed the measles epidemic threshold levels.

The statement came a day after the agency warned the public about the potential measles outbreak in the early part of 2023 should the immunization rate continue to drop. 

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that data showed at least three million children in the country are now susceptible to the viral respiratory illness.

Vergeire also said that the fully-immunized child coverage in the country is at 62.9 percent, still far from the target of 95 percent.

She attributed the low jab uptake to the Covid-19 pandemic, which she said “restricted” many parents to get their children inoculated.

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