MANILA — The Department of Health (DOH) has warned against the possible increase in the number of measles cases, aside from skin problems, during the summer months.
The dry season or summer in the country starts in March.
According to DOH Secretary Janette L. Garin, while the agency has conducted some form of supplemental immunization program, there is a possibility of cases of measles that maybe experienced by some people in certain areas.
“Of course, we’re hoping that this will not happen because we have already conducted immunization in some areas… But still there is a need to remain vigilant and be in the preventive side,” she stressed.
She said that because of such possibility, there is a need to be more cautious and aware of the importance of vaccinating the children against measles.
“So, kailangan pa rin ng pag-iingat at pagpapabakuna ng mga bata,” she added.
The Health Chief said measles can be easily spread to other people if a patient passes by or is in the same place where some people without measles are also staying because it can be spread through the air or airborne.
She also said that most vulnerable to it are children, pregnant women and those with weak immune system who are exposed to patients with measles.
To reduce the risk of spreading the disease, it is important that a herd immunity is achieved through the immunization program being done by the government to fight it both in the community level and in the school through the school-based immunization.
Secretary Garin explained that by having herd immunity, the most vulnerable ones like children and pregnant women will somehow be protected.
She reminded that German measles among pregnant women can cause some birth defects or affect the fetus of the mother.
It is therefore important that pregnant mothers are protected against it.
If someone in the house has measles, the patient is advised to stay there at least four days from the date that he or she first developed the measles rash so he/she can help in reducing the risk of spreading it to others.
According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, rubella or German measles is dangerous for pregnant women and unborn babies.
This disease is often mild with half of the people having it not realizing that they are sick.
A rash may start around two weeks after exposure and last for three days. It usually starts on the face and spreads to the rest of the body.
The rash is not as bright as that of measles and is sometimes itchy.
Rubella is usually spread through the air via coughs of people who are infected.
People are infectious during the week before and after the appearance of the rash.
The most serious complication from rubella infection is the harm it can cause to a pregnant woman’s unborn baby.
If an unvaccinated pregnant woman gets infected with rubella virus, she can have a miscarriage, or her baby can die just after birth.
Also, the woman can pass the virus to her unborn baby who can develop serious birth defects such as heart problems, loss of hearing and eyesight, intellectual disability, and liver or spleen damage.
Serious birth defects are more common if a woman is infected early in her pregnancy, especially in the first trimester. Leilani Junio/PNA/northboundasia.com