THREE PEOPLE, including infants, died of measles in the province in a span of one week last January, according to a report from the Provincial Health Office (PHO).
PHO said the victims aged eight and nine months old were residents of Barangay Lanas this town, while the 31-year-old female is from Barangay Tipor Bani.
In an interview Monday, provincial health officer Dr. Anna Ma. Teresa de Guzman said her office has recorded 122 suspected measles cases from January 1 to February 11 this year, 5.17 percent higher than the 116 cases in 2018.
De Guzman said of the total number of cases this year, 23 were confirmed to be positive with measles.
“Among the towns and cities in the province, our main focus is on Lingayen, with a 2,000-percent increase, (in suspected cases)” she said.
Lingayen currently has 21 suspected cases, contrary to 2018 with only one case.
Other towns and cities being closely monitored are Dagupan City, also with 21 suspected measles cases; Bugallon, 10; Calasiao, eight; San Carlos and Binmaley with seven each.
De Guzman, however, clarified they have not yet declared any measles ‘outbreak’ in the province.
“We still need to consult with the various health offices and local chief executive in the areas under our watch list,” she said.
The PHO will wait for this week’s results, then conduct consultation, she added.
Meanwhile, vaccination coverage in the province has gone down by 25 percent.
“Misconceptions have risen due to the Dengvaxia case. This has brought fear and panic among parents, and eventually chose not to vaccinate their children,” de Guzman added.
She explained that immunization rate in the province has gone down to 70 percent last year, in contrast to 2017 with 95-percent rate.
The 25-percent decrease is equivalent to 28,000 children, de Guzman added.
Meanwhile, PHO instructed all barangay health workers in the province to urge parents to have their children vaccinated following the decrease in immunization rate.
“We need to speak with the parents, telling that it is their liability if their children have contracted measles and other forms of communicable diseases because of no vaccination,” de Guzman said.
It is the children’s right to get vaccinated, she added.
Moreover, the Kalusugan Caravan, which operates thrice a week in barangays all over Pangasinan, orients mothers on benefits of vaccination. (Ahikam Pasion)
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