By Lesley Vestil
Cebu City – The Department of Health (DOH) in Central Visayas has declared an outbreak measles in Negros Oriental after confirming that 21 adults, mostly construction workers, were positive of the disease.
“We only need one case to cause an outbreak,” said DOH Regional Director Dr. Jaime Bernadas in a press conference Tuesday.
The DOH is monitoring seven towns and one city in Negros Oriental and has launched a measles immunization drive, Bernadas said.
Most of the cases are in Dumaguete City, she said. Other towns affected are Bacong, Mabinay, Sta. Catalina, San Jose, Siaton and Valencia.
Twelve cases are still suspected, while nine have been confirmed through laboratorytests, Bernadas said.
The vaccine is also for mumps and rubella.
Bernadas said children aged 9 months to five years old are encouraged to have measles shots twice to build up their immunity.
Those who took only one dose of vaccine will be given a second booster dose, he said.
While measles is not particularly fatal, children could still die from complications brought by the disease such as bronchopneumonia.
“We encourage all parents in Negros Oriental to avail of the free vaccination for their children to avoid any possible complication brought by the virus,” Bernadas said.
He also said the measles immunization program is different from the dengue immunization program which is mired in the Dengvaxia controversy.
Bernadas stressed that the Dengvaxia vaccine is different from the measles vaccine. The measles vaccine has been proven safe and effective for so many years.