UNICEF-WHO Philippines: Measles Outbreak, Situation Report 6, 19 March 2019

Situation Report
Originally published



Current measles outbreak started late 2017 in Mindanao. In 2018, 21,812 cases were reported with 202 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 vac-cine controversy. Weak routine immunization leading to a decrease in overall immunization coverage over the last decade resulted in low resistance or presence of herd immunity among younger children.

The Philippines Department of Health (DoH) declared measles outbreaks in 5 Regions (Region NCR, III, IV-A, VI, VII) on 7 February 2019, whereas cases are being reported from all 17 Regions. DoH issued guide-lines for nation-wide measles vaccination accompanied by Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) and Vitamin A distri-bution 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.

Current Situation

Between 1 January and 14 March 2019, 21,396 measles cases including 315 deaths were officially reported through the routine surveillance system from the DoH: a 384% increase with the same time period in 2018 (see Table 1).

With a median age of 3 years old, 54% of measles cases are under 5 years of age. The majority of measles cases are male (53%).

As of 14 March 2019, 60% of cases have no doc-umented vaccination status. DoH estimates that 2% of cases had been previously vaccinated with one or 2 doses. The vaccination status of the remainder of cases is unknown.