According to health officials, 17,300 confirmed cases of measles were reported nationwide from January to November. There are five times more cases than during the same timeframe the previous year. Health officials have attributed the case increase to a generalized lack of trust in vaccines. Case rates are particularly high on the island of Mindanao, where access by health professionals is rendered difficult due to ongoing terrorist activity and regular clashes between the military and insurgent groups.
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 medical attention.
Many Western governments advise against travel to southwestern Mindanao.
Copyright and Disclaimer