THE Bacolod City Health Office (CHO) is urging the parents to have their children vaccinated for protection against measles, locally known as "tigdas."

As of March 14, there are no reported cases of measles in Bacolod, said Dr. Grace Tan, head of the CHO Environment Sanitation Division.

Measles, also called rubeola, is a highly contagious respiratory infection that's caused by a virus. It causes a total-body skin rash and flu-like symptoms, including fever, cough, and runny nose.

A measles outbreak was already declared in neighboring Negros Oriental while four suspected cases were reported in Negros Occidental.

"We can maintain a zero case of measles if we maintain a high coverage of the immunization. We are encouraging our parents to have their children vaccinated. That's the only thing that we can avoid the spread of diseases," Tan said.

In the past three years, there's no reported of measles cases in Bacolod, she added.

Symptoms of measles includea dry cough, runny nose, sore throat, inflamed eyes and tiny white spots with bluish-white centers on a red background found inside the mouth on the inner lining of the cheek, she said, adding they should seek medical attention immediately.

Due to fear over Dengvaxia, some parents refused to avail the anti-measles program of the government.

Dr. Rosalie Deocampo, medical coordinator of National Immunization Program in Bacolod, said the city is not affected by the Dengvaxia issue.

"For a long time, the vaccines that are being used in a routine immunization has been used for several decades and it is proven that it controlled the increase, spread and even death outcome of the vaccines preventable diseases," Deocampo said.

"For three years, we had controlled measles in Bacolod City because immunization is the best action to prevent this preventable diseases and occurrence of an outbreak," she said.

In 2017, CHO immunized 11,957 children, or 74 percent, of the 16,139 target population in Bacolod.

Bacolod also topped in the region for the implementation of its immunization program last year.

Deocampo said CHO is also conducting a school-based immunization program for those who have not completed the two doses of vaccines containing the measles.

"In order to declare your child fully protected from measles, he or she should avail two doses of vaccines. Vaccination is a form of protection against measles," she added.

Dengvaxia injection

The CHO is monitoring the 19 children in the city who received dengue vaccine from their private doctors.

"We are monitoring their health status and we are encouraging other patients who were given a dengue vaccine so we can monitor them also," she said.

Tan noted the Department of Health (DOH) had earlier ordered them to encourage patients who received Dengvaxia from their private doctors to come over at CHO for monitoring purposes.

The CHO surveillance units also continue monitoring the hospital with dengue cases that had history immunization of dengue vaccine.

"So far we have no adverse report or event related to the Dengvaxia vaccines," Tan said.

CHO records showed that from January 1 to March 10 this year, 144 dengue cases and one fatality were reported.

Of the 61 cases, Barangay Sum-ag topped the list with 16; Barangay Singcang-Airport, 15; Barangay Taculing, 14; Barangay Villamonte, 13; Barangays Handumanan and Alijis, 12 each; Mansilingan, 9; and Barangays Tangub, Mandalagan, Pahanocoy, and Estefania, six each.

Tan said they are intensifying their anti-dengue campaign.