By Betheena Unite
A total of 175 new measles cases were recorded in a span of a week, bringing the total number of measles cases to 39,184 from January to July this year, the Department of Health said Monday.
The new measles cases were recorded from July 7 to 13, the Epidemiology Bureau of the agency said.
It added that a total of 533 deaths have been recorded this year, five times higher than the recorded deaths last year.
Most cases this year were in Region IV-A, with 7,213 cases recorded since the start of the year. The National Capital Region and Central Luzon follow, with 6,969 and 6,350 recorded cases, respectively.
Most of the deaths were also recorded in Region IV-A, Central Luzon, and National Capital Region, where measles outbreak have been declared by the health department.
Children aged less than a year to four are the most affected age group. And more than half of the total reported cases were not vaccinated.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) revealed that measles outbreaks continue to spread around the world based on its latest preliminary reports.
Major outbreaks were noted in the Philippines and other countries like Angola, Cameroon, Chad, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, South Sudan, Sudan, and Thailand.
“In the first six months of 2019, reported measles cases are the highest in any year since 2006, with outbreaks straining health care systems, and leading to serious illness, disability, and deaths in many parts of the world,” the WHO said
It noted that there have been “almost three times as many cases reported to date in 2019 as there were at this same time last year.”
The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Madagascar, and Ukraine have reported the highest number of cases this year, the WHO added.
The report also pointed out that the largest outbreaks are in countries with low measles vaccination coverage, currently or in the past, which has left large numbers of people vulnerable to the disease.
“At the same time, protracted outbreaks are occurring even in countries with high national vaccination rates. This results from inequities in vaccine coverage, and gaps and disparities between communities, geographic areas, and among age-groups. When enough people who are not immune are exposed to measles, it can very quickly spread,” it said.