Current measles outbreak started late 2017 in Mindanao. In 2018, 20,827 cases were reported with 199 deaths. Outbreak and supplementary immunization activities in 2018 were ineffective in addressing the outbreak as the immunization activity was met with increased vaccine hesitancy due to the Dengue vaccine controversy. Weak routine immunization leading to a decrease in overall immunization coverage in recent years resulted in large immunity gaps among younger children against vaccine preventable diseases including measles.
The Philippines Department of Health (DoH) declared measles outbreaks in 5 Regions (Region NCR, III, IVA, VI, VII) on 7 February 2019, whereas cases were reported from all 17 Regions. DoH issued guidelines for nation-wide measles vaccination accompanied by Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) and Vitamin A distribution until end March 2019, prioritizing unvaccinated children between 6 and 59 months; schoolchildren from kindergarten to grade 6; and adults who voluntarily wish to be vaccinated against measles.
Between 1 January and 11 May 2019, 34,950 measles cases including 477 deaths were officially reported through the routine surveillance system from the DoH, with a Case Fatality Rate (CFR) of 1,37% (see Table 1).
The number of newly reported cases in epidemiological week 19 (5 to 11 May 2019) was 0.5% lower than in the same time period in 2018.
With a median age of 3 years old, 52% of measles cases are under 5 years of age. 53% of measles cases are male.
With a median age of 1 year old, 83% of all deaths are children under the age of 5: 58% of measles deaths are male. Most deaths are reported from Region III, IV-A, VIII and NCR.