TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, November 2 (PIA)—Still reeling from dengue which has parents worried, another risk may just be already in Bohol with a potential to wreak havoc to communities.
This is measles and rubella.
An airborne viral and highly contagious disease that gets fatal when its complications are not properly taken care of, measles is capable of infecting people exponentially.
That means a person infected with the virus can pass the disease to at least 20 persons who happen to personally touch the patient, or are within the vicinity when the carrier coughs, or sneezes, according to Department ofHealth Center for Health Development (DOH CHD).
A disease with no treatment, or until it leaves, medical practitioners can only manage the complications brought about by the disease or it becomes fatal,according to Dr. Jeanette Pauline Arellano-Cortes.
But there is only one thing communities can do to keep off from infection: immunization, she stressed.
Measles manifests itself as skin rashes, fever, cough, runny nose and inflammation of the eyes.
When it complicates and is not properly managed, measles van lead to diarrhea, dehydration, pneumonia, encepahalitis, blindness and hearing problems.
Although preventable by immunization, measles, with its complication is still the leading cause of death among preventable diseases, Dr. Cortes added.
In 2017, DOH authorities declared a measles outbreak in Zamboanga, and another outbreak was noted in Luzo, according to Ruff Vincent Valdevieso.
With proximity to Zamboanga, DOH-7 Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit sounded the alarm over what they perceive as danger signs of possible entry of the virus in the Visayas.
A regular boat trip services Dumaguete and Zamboanga.
According to data from the RESU, from January this year to October 27, there has been a total of 305 cases of measles monitored in Central Visayas.
Of all the cases, 15% or 45 patients are from Dumaguete, 28 or 9.1% from Bacong Negros Oriental, 5.9 % or 17 cases from Sibulan, still in Negros Oriental and in LarenaSiquijor where 5.5% of the cases were monitored, RESU7 said.
Cebu City this year has some 25 measles cases monitored, this is 8.1% of the cases here.
The disease has also caused one death, based on reports from different disease reporting units (DRUs) of the DOH.
In 2016, the same period saw 45 cases and no deaths, that is why this year, health authorities say this year’s cases is 582% higher, Valdeviesa who is a nurse, reported.
RESU 7 also pointed out that the ages of their monitored cases ranged from 5-60 years old.
While Bohol Province has but yet 12 suspected measles cases, there is only one laboratory confirmed measles case and another rubella case, the regional center for disease monitoring shared.
But with a twice daily sea trips from Dumaguete to Tagbilaran, what are the chances that the disease could be spread in Bohol?
High, health authorities said.
To respond the alarming situation, DOH now brings a region-wide supplemental immunization Activity (SIA) in Central Visayas from October 22 to November 23.
Dr. Cortes explained that the Measles Containing Vaccines (MVC), a vaccine that has been used since 1970s would be used in the month-long activity.
Target are children from 6 weeks (one month and 2 weeks) to 59 months or four years and 11 months, according to DOH.
An immunized child is a child already freed from measles and the costs of getting sick and treatment is still way over the trouble of bringing your child to the nearest health center, Dr. Cortes reminded everyone. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)