Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Lanao villagers get anti-measles shots; outbreak of disease prevented

COTABATO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Feb. 23, 2010) – The Department of Health in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao said it has contained a possible measles outbreak on coastal town in Lanao del Sur province, according to a report by the ARMM's Bureau of Public Information.

It said health workers rushed to the town of Balabagan after the reported breakout of measles in villages.

Regional Health Secretary Dr. Kadil Sinolinding Jr. in a report to acting ARMM Governor Ansaruddin Adiong said villagers were given immunizations tom protect them from the disease.

Adiong earlier ordered health workers to intensify immunization in the province following the outbreak of measles in Balabagan.

“Please do everything possible to address the reported outbreak,” Adiong told Sinolinding.

Sinolinding said he immediately sent health workers to investigate the report and conduct immunization against measles especially on children to avoid epidemic.

Sinolinding said seven adults and a one-year old child had been infected with measles, but there had been no reported deaths in the town.

Measles is an airborne disease and is contagious, Sinolinding said, prodding the public especially the parents to have their children immunized in health clinics across the region.

In 2004, the Health department launched the Ligtas Tigdas Campaign which aimed to vaccinate door-to-door some 18 million children between 9 months to 8 years old in the country. It resulted to decreased measles cases in the by 96 percent and death from measles by about 99 percent.

Prior to Ligtas Tigdas campaign, an estimated 6,000 children, mostly from poor families, died from measles.

“DOH-ARMM will continue to deliver the basic health services due our people in the region as concrete manifestation of the seriousness of regional governor Adiong to address the health requirement of his people,” Sinolinding said.

He said the symptoms of measles include fever, general weakness and occasionally red eyes. But these symptoms usually come before skin rash confirming the onset of the disease. It is transmitted through droplets from the nose, mouth or throat of infected person. (Becky de Asis contributed to this report.)

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