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On measles outbreak in Taguig, DOH says trust the vaccine

A Department of Health (DOH) official on Thursday called on parents to heed the department’s call to have their children immunized to protect them from vaccine-preventable illnesses.

"We ask all parents to please follow the immunization schedule of their children to protect them from diseases," Undersecretary Enrique Domingo said in a text message to reporters.

Domingo made the call as he confirmed seven cases of measles in a barangay (village) in Taguig City in the past two weeks. He declined to name the affected village.

"All the (seven) children are fine," he said. "We have a response team to investigate and work to stop transmission of the disease."

He reminded the public that measles can be prevented by a vaccine.

"We should have zero case," he added.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), measles is a highly infectious, serious disease and “remains one of leading causes of death among young children globally”.

It is caused by a virus that is passed through direct contact and through the air.

Its symptoms include high fever, runny nose, cough, red and watery eyes, and small white spots inside the cheeks. Rashes eventually appear, usually on the face and upper neck, and spread to the hands and feet.

The WHO said most measles-related deaths are caused by complications, the most serious of which include blindness, encephalitis or swelling of the brain, severe diarrhea and dehydration, ear infections, and severe respiratory infections, such as pneumonia.

“Unvaccinated young children are at highest risk of measles and its complications, including death,” it said, adding that the measles vaccine “has been in use for over 50 years and is safe, effective and inexpensive”.

A measles outbreak can be declared in areas where two or more cases are monitored.

Leilani Junio / PNA