7 deaths due to measles

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Thursday, August 21, 2014


A TOTAL of 1,250 cases of measles with seven deaths have been recorded from January to August 8 this year in Davao City, according to a City Health Office (CHO) report.

The report was shown to Sun.Star Davao by City Health Officer Dr. Josephine Villafuerte during an interview at her office Wednesday afternoon.

Of the reported cases, Talomo North District posted the highest number of cases with 201, followed by Buhangin District with 133, Talomo South (116), Poblacion District A (95), Agdao (88), Marilog (86), Sasa (82), Poblacion District C (76), Toril (75), and Bunawan (68).

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The districts with lower number of reported cases are Poblacion District D with 58, Poblacion District B with 53, Tugbok District with 51, Calinan District with 36, and Paquibato with 32.

Measles claimed two lives in Talomo North, while one death each was recorded in Agdao, Calinan, Poblacion Districts A and B and Talomo South.

Of the 32 measles cases in Paquibato District, Barangay Mapula reported 16 cases, while Malabog had four and barangays Panalum and Paquibato Poblacion each had three cases.

Barangay Sumimao had two while Fatima, Mabuhay, Paradise Embak and Tapak had one measles case apiece.

But just recently, Dr. Villafuerte said Paquibato's measles cases jumped to 66 since May.

She said they are meeting tribal leaders in Paquibato to discuss how to minimize the measles incidents.

"Measles cases are all over the Philippines. We studied the cases reported in the districts and found out about the health practices of Dabawenyos in these areas. Ayaw nilang magpabakuna eh libre man lang sana," Villafuerte said.

The Vermont Department of Health defines measles as a highly contagious disease that causes fever and rash. "At first, measles (also known as Rubeola) looks and feels like a cold. Cough, high fever, runny nose, and red, watery eyes are common. A few days later, a red, blotchy rash starts on the face, then spreads to the rest of the body."

Villafuerte said most measles cases involve children five years old and below.

She also said that those in far-flung barangays are not the only ones prone to the disease as it can hit anyone especially young kids.

Villafuerte added, "Sa Talomo, Poblacion at Buhangin nga ang may pinakamaraming kaso kaya tinututukan na rin ang measles immunization in these areas and those with reported cases."

The CHO chief, however, expressed her sentiment on people's lack of interest in getting their measles shots.

"Kita mag worry para nila pero sila wala man sila mag worry para sa ilahang sarili ug mga anak. Malabanan man unta ang measles pero dili lang gyud ga-cooperate ang ubang parents ba (We worry for them but they don't worry for themselves and their children. Measles can be fought but some parents just don't cooperate)," Villafuerte shared.

In line with the national program of the Department of Health, the CHO will hold a city-wide measles immunization on September 1 for children five years old and below. Another city-wide measles immunization is set in November for high school students.

"Pupuntahan sa mga komunidad ang mga bata para mabigyan ng bakuna (We will go to communities to immunize the children)," Villafuerte said.

She, thus, urged Dabawenyos especially parents to avail of the free measles vaccination for their children.

"Libre lang ang bakuna natin. Pwede lang pumunta sa health center. Kung pupuntahan kayo ng health personnel, magpabakuna na. Sayang lang kung hindi niyo i-avail. Nakakamatay ang measles kaya magpabakuna na. (The vaccination is offered for free. You may go to the health center. If health personnel visit your home, you should grab the opportunity to get vaccinated. Measles can be life threatening)," she said.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on August 22, 2014.

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