The Department of Health is looking into the suspected measles outbreak in Sarangani province which affected 84 persons with 18 deaths as of Nov. 28.
Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III said the DOH swiftly acted during medical emergencies, such as suspected disease outbreaks in certain localities.
“This is in response to its mandate of ensuring the safety of the public in times of emergencies to contain its effect and not to cause further stress to our fellowmen,” said Duque.
He gave assurances the DOH was always ready to respond and provide the needed health service to the public.
During the investigation, Duque said the response team was able to vaccinate 49 children aged 6 months to 12 years old with Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) vaccine.
They were able to immunize an additional 246 children, also with MMR vaccine, during the second deployment.
Age range of these suspected measles cases were from 4 months to 40 years old where majority are females.
But only 18 (30 percent) of them were physically checked up by a physician, while the rest were based on verbal accounts of the relatives and barangay officials.
All of the suspect cases have no history of measles.
On Nov. 22, the serum specimen collected from 12 (20 percent) of these cases were sent to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine for Measles Confirmatory Test.
The investigating team was composed of doctors and nurses from the municipal, provincial and regional offices.
The cases, who belong to the B’laan Tribe, came from the different sitios (Lower Kyugam, Alna, Upper Kyugam, Mahayag, Lino, Alnaob, Datalnay, Kyugam, Mission, Klarak, and Dlandang) in Barangay Upper Suyan, municipality of Malapatan in Saranggani province.
Common signs and symptoms for suspected measles typically include fever, runny nose, cough, red eyes and sore throat, followed by a rash that spread all over the body.