SIX local government units in Western Visayas are targets of the Department of Health’s (DOH) supplemental immunization program, including measles vaccination.
Dr. Mary Jane Roches Juanico, the program coordinator of DOH 6 child health, said the target areas are San Jose in Antique; and Kabankalan, Binalbagan, Himamaylan, Ilog and Candoni in Negros Occidental.
As of April 11, 2018, Western Visayas already recorded 17 confirmed measles cases, against 1 case in 2017.
Juanico said the towns of San Jose and Kabankalan have three confirmed measles cases each this year.
A case was detected in the towns of Culasi, Tibiao, Sebaste, Hamtic and Lau-an in Antique; Malay, Aklan; Guimbal, Miagao, Lambunao and Leganes in Iloilo; and Cauayan in Negros Occidental.
Three of the 17 cases were from the age group of less than 9 months while three cases are in the 9 to 12 months old bracket.
The 1 to 5 years old and 11 to 18 years old brackets accounted for one case each; two cases for 6 to 10 years old; and seven cases for more than 19 years old.
The DOH data further revealed that 9.53 percent of those who got infected by measles had no vaccination; 5.29 percent have received one dose of the immunization; while 3.18 percent have received two doses or more.
Juanico said the supplemental immunization in measles-affected LGUs will cover nine to 59-months-old children, whether or not they had been given previous immunization.
She said the program targets to cover some 60,000 children.
Meantime, the initiative will also cover some 4,000 six to eight months old children.
The DOH decided to include them, although not part of the routine immunization, because cases have been recorded in this age group.
Juanico said one dose guarantees them 60 to 75 percent protection.
The routine measles and rubella vaccination immunization covers nine and 12-months-old children. The two doses guarantee a 95-percent protection.
However, she warned of 15-percent failure in the vaccination, which will now be the target of the supplemental vaccination.
For the program to become successful, a modified fixed system will be adopted. This means that health workers will reach out to the target age group.
Health workers will also embark on a house-to-house campaign to be able to reach out to their desired clients.
Juanico explained that measles is a contagious disease.
The disease can be contracted through respiratory secretion. Among its clinical manifestations are high grade fever and general maculopapular rash. It may also manifests cough, runny nose and conjunctivitis or red and watery eyes.
She encouraged that proper infection control be observed if there are hospital admission, or patients are treated in other health facilities. (PGL/PNA)