A total of 450 measles and rubella cases were reported from January 1 to September 17, this year, and the Department of Health (DOH) said the figure was 153 percent higher than the incidence registered during the same period last year.
The DOH’s national measles and rubella data showed that there were only 178 cases of measles and rubella logged from Jan. 1 to Sept. 17 last year.
The Calabarzon region accounted for 16 percent or 70 of the 450 cases reported this year, followed by Central Visayas with 61 cases and the National Capital Region (NCR) with 47 cases.
From August 21 to September 17, 2022 alone, 68 measles and rubella cases were reported, most of which were in the Calabarzon with 16 cases or 24 percent.
Eastern Visayas was second with 12 cases and Central Visayas, Northern Mindanao, and NCR with seven cases each.
The DOH said Calabarzon, Eastern Visayas, the Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao, and Soccsksargen showed measles and rubella case increases in the recent four morbidity weeks, or on August 21 to September 17.
During the same period, Cagayan Valley, Calabarzon, Central Visayas, and NCR, meanwhile, surpassed the measles epidemic threshold levels.
The measles clusters were specifically logged in Barangay Caranglaan, Dagupan City, Pangasinan, and Barangay Balangasan, Pagadian City, Zamboanga del Sur.
Thirty-six cases were classified as laboratory confirmed measles, while 37 cases were tagged as laboratory confirmed rubella, said the DOH.
Two individuals also reportedly died in August and September due to measles and rubella. This posed a 0.4 percent case fatality rate.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), measles is a “highly contagious, serious” disease caused by a virus that is usually transmitted through direct contact and through the air. Its symptoms include high fever, runny nose, a cough, red and watery eyes, small white spots or rashes.
On the other hand, rubella is a contagious viral infection that most often affects children and young adults. It is transmitted by airborne droplets when infected people sneeze or cough, and may cause a mild fever and rash in children and adults.
DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire on Tuesday warned against an impending measles outbreak in 2023 due to the low immunization coverage among Filipino children.
She said that there were almost three million children in the country who have not yet received any of the two doses of the measles vaccine.