Measles in the Philippines
Measles, a highly contagious disease brought about by rubeola virus, continues to be a worldwide concern not only among children but among adults as well despite its high preventability thru vaccination.
And from the months of January to March of this year(2011),there have been more than 2,000 cases of measles have been documented by the National Epidemiology Center of the DOH (Department of Health). With this, our government launched “Iligtas sa Tigdas ang Pilipinas”, a nationwide door-to-door measles immunization campaign to reduce the number of susceptible individuals.
A descriptive study done at San Lazaro Hospital presented in the 8th Western Pacific Congress on Chemotherapy and Infectious Diseases revealed that adults present the same clinical manifestations (rash and fever) as in children. However, the complications are more serious among adults like, pneumonia and acute gastroenteritis.
Treatment of measles is largely supported by controlling of fever thru analgesics and in some cases, antibiotics which are being used only when the doctor has noted pneumonia to the patient. Home remedies like increasing oral fluid intake, use of humidifiers to relieve breathing discomfort associated with cough/ sore throat, eye care practices (avoid reading and watching television) and isolation will contribute a lot towards early recovery. It is very important to note that considering the fact that measles is most contagious four (4) days before and after the onset of the rashes, it will be best for affected individuals to avoid activities that will require interaction with others during this period.
But the best practice when it comes to measles, as in any contagious disease, is to get vaccinated. According to World Health Organization (WHO), efforts of vaccination between 2000 and 2007 have decreased measles-related death by 74% worldwide. If you have had measles before, your body has built up immune defenses against the virus and can’t get measles again. However, if you:
- were born in 1957 or later (especially those living outside the U.S.) without any evidence of immunity or documentation of a dose given on or after the 1st birthday;
- belong to a high risk group (healthcare workers, students entering college, international travelers);
- are a woman of childbearing age with no acceptable evidence of immunity or vaccination…
- Visit your nearest healthcare provider and get vaccinated. Remember, vaccine saves lives!