On Monday, March 19, health officials in Kabankalan City (Negros Occidental) declared a measles outbreak after three reported cases were confirmed, with a fourth case still undergoing testing. A massive vaccination effort is being implemented across the city to contain the outbreak. According to local sources, in January at least 877 suspected measles cases and 12 measles-related deaths were reported nationwide, a nearly 300 percent increase compared to January 2017. A measles outbreak has also been declared in Negros Oriental, Taguig City, Zamboanga City, Davao Region, and Davao City.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease that typically affects mostly children. It is transmitted via droplets from the nose, mouth, or throat of infected persons. Symptoms of measles are usually a high fever, which begins approximately ten to 12 days after exposure to the virus and lasts four to seven days. A runny nose, a cough, red and watery eyes, and small white spots inside the cheeks can develop in the initial stage. After several days, a rash erupts, usually on the face and upper neck. Over the course of about three days, the rash spreads, eventually reaching the hands and feet. The rash lasts for five to six days and then fades. On average, the rash occurs 14 days after exposure to the virus (within a range of seven to 18 days). A vaccine is available.
Potentially affected individuals are advised to ensure their measles vaccination is up to date (including booster shots) and to contact their doctor with any questions or concerns. Anyone experiencing the above symptoms is urged to seek immediate medical attention.