FILE - In this Friday, Sept. 12, 2014, file photo, a local health worker administers a vaccine to a baby at a local health center at the financial district of Makati, east of Manila, Philippines. The World Health Organization and the British government are working with the Philippine Department of Health, UNICEF and a host of other partners to help deliver a month-long campaign to immunize children against Measles, Rubella, commonly known as German measles and Polio which aims to immunize 13 million children nationwide. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez, File)

Philippines says 136 people have died in measles outbreak

An immunization drive that started last week may contain the outbreak by April

The Philippine health secretary said Monday that 136 people, mostly children, have died of measles and 8,400 others have fallen ill in an outbreak blamed partly on vaccination fears.

A massive immunization drive that started last week in hard-hit Manila and four provincial regions may contain the outbreak by April, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said. President Rodrigo Duterte warned in a TV message Friday of fatal complications and urged children to be immunized.

“No ifs, no buts, no conditions, you just have to bring your children and trust that the vaccines … will save your children,” Duque said by telephone. “That’s the absolute answer to this outbreak.”

Infections spiked by more than 1,000 per cent in metropolitan Manila, the densely packed capital of more than 12 million people, in January compared to last year, health officials said.

About half of the 136 who died were children aged 1 to 4 and many of those who perished were not inoculated, the officials said.

Duque said a government information drive was helping restore public trust in the government’s immunization program, which was marred in 2017 by controversy over an anti-dengue vaccine made by French drugmaker Sanofi Pasteur which some officials linked to the deaths of at least three children.

The Philippine government halted the anti-dengue immunization drive after Sanofi said a study showed the vaccine may increase the risks of severe dengue infections. More than 830,000 children were injected with the Dengvaxia vaccine under the campaign, which was launched in 2016 under then-President Benigno Aquino III. The campaign continued under Duterte until it was stopped in 2017.

Sanofi officials told Philippine congressional hearings that the Dengvaxia vaccine was safe and effective and would reduce dengue infections if the vaccination drive continued.

“It seems the faith has come back,” Duque said of public trust on the government’s immunization drive, citing the inoculation of about 130,000 of 450,000 people targeted for anti-measles vaccinations in metropolitan Manila in just a week.

READ MORE: Maple Ridge mom calls for mandatory measles shots

READ MORE: Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus which can be spread through sneezing, coughing and close personal contact.

Complications include diarrhea, ear infections, pneumonia and encephalitis, or the swelling of the brain, which may lead to death, according to the Department of Health.

The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

New signage at hazardous Salmon Arm intersection result of ‘nudging’

Mayor pleased council’s requests for improvements to Highway 97B and 10th Avenue heard

Salmon Arm Seniors Resource Centre operations hindered by lack of space

Seniors support programs limited by lack of room at centre’s current location

Salmon Arm residents can send holiday cheer to children in developing countries

Operation Christmas Child collecting gift-filled shoeboxes at Centenoka Park Mall

Man and woman in their 60s identified by RCMP as bodies in Anglemont residence

Police investigation continues, say no suspects are being sought at this time

UPDATE: Power back on for much of the Shuswap

Outages due to downed wires and a transmission circuit failure

VIDEO: Disney Plus gives Canadians a streaming platform that nearly matches U.S. version

The Walt Disney Company’s new subscription platform unveiled a comprehensive offering of nearly 500 films

Sex assault charge stayed against Port Moody mayor

Rob Vagramov appeared in provincial court in Port Coquitlam

73% of B.C. residents agree with a temporary ban on vaping products: poll

54% say they would not date someone who vapes, Research Co. poll suggests

B.C.’s 13-cent gasoline gap still a mystery, Premier John Horgan says

NDP plans legislation this month, seeks action from Justin Trudeau

Former Vancouver Canucks player suing financial advisors for negligence

Jason Garrison claimed his advisors failed to take his circumstances into account

Group walking on thin ice at B.C. lake sparks warning from RCMP

At least seven people were spotted on Joffre Lakes, although the ice is not thick enough to be walked on

Two new fire trucks roll into service in North Okanagan

Ceremony Saturday will celebrate the bright red additions

Column: Murder, mystery and the great outdoors

Great Outdoors by James Murray

B.C. teacher said he would use student to ‘whack’ two others on Grade 8 field trip

Campbell River teacher-on-call suspended three weeks after November 2018 incident

Most Read