SUSPECTED measles cases in Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental have increased to four as the Department of Health-Western Visayas is poised to conduct a massive vaccination next week.

Dr. Remelyn Reyes, head of DOH-Western Visayas Family Health and Nutrition Cluster, said Friday, March 9, that blood and serum specimen from the patients were already submitted to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine.

She added their laboratory results may come out next week.

“On Monday, we may give the go signal to the Provincial Health Office of Negros Occidental to conduct massive measles, mumps and rubella vaccination throughout the province,” she said.

Negros Occidental Provincial Health Officer Dr. Ernell Tumimbang confirmed on same day the four suspected measles cases in Kabankalan.

It was earlier reported that the city has three suspected cases.

Tumimbang said two patients, a 38-year-old male, and an eight-month-old baby boy, are still confined at Lorenzo Zayco District Hospital while the other two, a 22-year-old female and a 10-year-old girl, were treated as outpatients.

All of them are from Sitio Waling-Waling at Barangay Camugao in Kabankalan City, which is located at the boundary of Negros Oriental, where measles outbreak was reported in seven of its localities including Mabinay town.

Mabinay is near Kabankalan.

Because of the suspected cases, even without the confirmation of the laboratory results, hospital chief Dr. Claudelia Pabillo was already given the instruction to immunize all the personnel of the Lorenzo Zayco District Hospital to avoid contamination, Reyes said.

Pabillo has confirmed that the patients were already in the isolation section of the hospital which is a protocol for contagious diseases.

Tumimbang said they will monitor the cases in Kabankalan which has one of the highest immunization coverages in 2017.

He said they will immediately conduct catch up immunization to arrest whatever contamination, adding they will focus on those who are not vaccinated yet from nine months to 15-years-old.

He also said the Negros Occidental Community and Health Surveillance has been monitoring and evaluating the measles symptoms.

He added they will closely monitor and conduct massive vaccination not only in Kabankalan City but also in other transit points in the province like San Carlos City and Hinoba-an.