The Kabankalan City government is stepping up its measles vaccination drive as a preventive measure following reports that three of its residents are suspected to have been hit by the highly infectious and sometimes deadly disease.
Kabankalan Mayor Isidro Zayco said yesterday that, as a preventive measure, a massive measles vaccination campaign will be conducted in areas where suspected measles patients come from, and in Kabankalan barangays at the border of Mabinay, Negros Oriental.
The Kabankalan border barangays are Inapoy, Carol-an, and Tagukon, Zayco said, adding that residents of those areas have been advised not to go to Mabinay.
Health Undersecretary Enrique Domingo earlier said 19 cases of measles were reported in the towns of Bacong, Mabinay, San Jose, Santa Catalina, Siaton and Valencia, and Dumaguete City.
"Measles is a vaccine-preventable disease and we should have zero cases. So even if we have just one to two cases, it is considered an outbreak and transmission must be controlled," Domingo said.
A 38-year-old resident of Barangay Camugao who was admitted at the Lorenzo D. Zayco District Hospital in Kabankalanon Tuesday developed suspected measles rashes Wednesday, Dr. Claudelia Pabillo, hospital chief, said yesterday.
She said a team from the Department Health regional office and Provincial Health Office visited the patient yesterday and took specimens to determine if he is indeed suffering from measles.
Zayco said he was informed that two other persons suspected to have measles were no longer at the hospital.
Dr. Ernell Tumimbang, provincial health officer, said he sent a team to Kabankalan to investigate the three suspected measles cases there and to get samples for verification.
The reported suspected cases of measles in Kabankalan were in Barangay Tagukon, he said, adding that in neighboring Mabinay there have been 11 reported confirmed cases of measles.
Tumimbang has called on all city and municipal health officers in the province to find out if there are suspected cases of measles in their areas and to immediately report them to the PHO.
Zayco said he has also already instructed the Kabankalan health workers to be alert for suspected measles cases in their barangays.
The World Health Organization said measles is a highly contagious, serious disease caused by a virus.
The disease remains one of the leading causes of death among young children globally, despite the availability of a safe and effective vaccine, it said.
Measles is caused by a virus in the paramyxovirus family and it is normally passed through direct contact and through the air. The virus infects the respiratory tract , then spreads throughout the body, WHO said.
The first sign of measles is usually a high fever, which begins about 10 to 12 days after exposure to the virus, and lasts 4 to 7 days. A runny nose, a cough, red and watery eyes, and small white spots inside the cheeks can develop in the initial stage. After several days, a rash erupts, usually on the face and upper neck, WHO said.
After about 3 days, the rash spreads, eventually reaching the hands and feet. The rash lasts for 5 to 6 days, and then fades. On average, the rash occurs 14 days after exposure to the virus within a range of 7 to 18 days, WHO added.*CPG
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