What Happens During A Measles Outbreak?
When an infectious disease has an uncontrolled outbreak, health officials do not have very good options to pursue. The Philippines has been experiencing an extensive measles outbreak and is now taking action.
In Davao City, located in the southern Philippines, Abdullah B. Dumama, Jr. MD, who is the Assistant Secretary of Health for Mindanao and Regional Director, announced a mandatory measles vaccination program.
This means, regardless of your previous measles immunization status, the government is administering an additional dose.
The Philippines government is conducting house-to-house measles immunization in the affected areas around Davao City, where thirteen deaths have occurred. As of January 23, 40,959 children were already given a measles vaccination.
This mandatory immunization program will end on February 7, 2018.
According to the Philippine Health Ministry's press release - see below - all children ages 6 months to 59 months, regardless of their previous vaccination status, will be given one dose of Measles-Containing Vaccine (MCV).
A total of 317 suspected cases of measles were recorded by Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Unit (RESU) of DOH Regional Office XI from January 1 of 2017 to January 19, 2018. It is alarming to note that of these data, 14 were recorded as suspected measles-related deaths that is still for confirmation if the cause is directly related to the complications of Measles or co-incidental. 13 of these deaths are from Davao City and one from Davao del Norte. Of these suspected cases, 49 are from January 1-19, 2018. Most of the cases in the year 2017 spiked in the months of November and December.
To immediately address the ongoing transmission and control the occurrence of wider measles outbreak, an Outbreak Response Immunization (ORI) is being conducted in the affected localities in the region. All children ages 6 months – 59 months, regardless of their vaccination status is given one dose of Measles Containing Vaccine (MCV).
House-to-house measles immunization is currently being conducted in affected areas of Davao City. Last December 5-29, 2017, a total of 10,127 children were given MCV. Based on the evaluation, there was a recommendation to continue the house-to-house measles immunization, thus, it was agreed to carry on the activity which started last January 17, 2018 and will end on February 7, 2018.
As of January 23, 40,959 children were already given MCV. This weekend, Regional Office staff composed of 25 teams will be deployed to Barangay 23-C to augment the activity and ensure that no child is left unprotected from measles.
In the regular routine immunization, two-dose of MCV is given to children. The first dose is given at the age of 9 months, and the second dose is given at the age of 12 months. However, in the Outbreak Response Immunization, all children aged 6-8 months old shall be given one-dose of MCV and be recorded as zero dose. Then the first dose must be given at 9 months old or at least one-month interval from the last dose, then the second dose shall be given at 12 months old.
We would like to ensure the public that MCV has been used for generations already and is proven safe and very effective. Availability of logistics such as vaccines and syringes are also ensured.
We appeal to our Local Government Officials, volunteers, other stakeholders and partners to help us in the endeavor. Let us stand together to protect our children from threats to their health. These ongoing measles outbreak can be prevented. Help us inform the public that Measles can be prevented through vaccination and they can visit their nearest health centers for the vaccines or for any concerns.
Let us do this together and let us leave no child unprotected from Measles.
ABDULLAH B. DUMAMA, JR. MD, MPA, CESO III
Assistant Secretary of Health for Mindanao and
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have issued an extensive list of suggested vaccines for travelers to the Philippines, which can be found at this webpage.
While in the USA, most pharmacies offer measles vaccines.
Two approved vaccines, MMR-II and ProQuad, both contain protection against measles.
The CDC Vaccine Price List provides the private sector MMR vaccine prices for general information.
Most pediatricians and pharmacies offer the MMR vaccine, and vaccine discounts can be found here.
Vaccines, like any medicine, can have side effects, says the CDC. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of vaccines to the FDA or CDC.