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Measles outbreak declared in Philippines
The outbreak was declared following reports that from January 1 to December 14, 2013 there were already 1,724 confirmed measles cases nationwide, 21 of which were fatal.
Measles outbreaks have been declared in some villages in the cities of Manila, Caloocan, Las Piñas, Malabon, Muntinlupa, Navotas, Parañaque, Taguig, and Valenzuela.
“A virus has different strains. Depending on the strain, we will know if it’s a virus that originated from the Philippines or virus that came from abroad. We’re checking it,” Health Assistant Secretary and National Epidemiology Center director Dr. Eric Tayag told reporters in a press briefing.
Tayag said that of the 17 regions in the country, only four did not report an increase in the number of measles cases. These are Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Northern Mindanao and the Caraga region in Mindanao.
He said the health department would conduct a nationwide house-to-house vaccination of children below five years old to prevent the disease from further spreading.
He said 11.7 million to 12 million children would be given anti-measles shots during the summer break.
The DOH reiterated its appeal to parents to have their children vaccinated against measles, especially those between the ages of 6 to 18 months.