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PIA Press Release

DOH 8 conducts orientation on measles elimination campaign

Tacloban City (September 14) -- The Department of Health (DOH) Eastern Visayas will conduct an Orientation for the forthcoming Measles Elimination Campaign, on September 17, 2007, Director Teogenes Baluma announced.

Director Baluma said that the measles elimination campaign for this year is dubbed as "Knock-Out Tigdas" 2007 which will be conducted from October 15- November 15, 2007.

Director Baluma informed that the Department of Health Eastern Visayas has invited various stakeholders to attend said activity.

The month-long anti-measles campaign is anchored on immunization and control of the disease which is still considered as among the ten leading illnesses in the country.

"Knock-out Tigdas 2007", is a follow-up anti-measles campaign first launched in 1998 would have the specific objective of reducing the number at risk of getting measles or being susceptible to measles that have built up since 2004.

Target of the immunization would be children 9 months to 48 months old, regardless of immunization status with the campaign going door-to-door in search of children within the mentioned age group. Children found in streets, markets, and other public places by the vaccinations teams will also be covered.

Measles is an infectious disease that is caused by the measles virus. Measles is highly contagious, so highly contagious that practically no one who has had immunization against the disease could go through life without suffering from the illness.

Measles is also one of the most readily transmissible of all communicable diseases. The measles virus is transmitted by inhalation of airborne droplets from nasal or throat secretions of infected persons; direct contact with nasal or throat secretions or urine; or, contact with articles freshly soiled with nasal or throat secretions.

The usual presenting sign of measles is fever that appears eight to 13 days after entry of the virus into the body. The fever is usually accompanied by non-specific respiratory tract symptoms that include cough, sore throat and runny nose. Sometimes, redness of the eye and photophobia (sensitivity of the eyes to the light) also occur. Three to seven days after the start of the illness, the blotchy red skin rashes that characterize measles emerge. The skin rashes first appear on the face then spreads throughout the body in a matter of days.

Measles is communicable from the onset of fever to four days after the appearance of the rashes. There is no specific treatment for measles. In well-nourished children, the disease is rarely serious. It subsides spontaneously in one to two weeks. But in poorly nourished children, the disease often complicates. The more common serious and often fatal complications of measles are pneumonia and encephalitis (inflammation of the brain).

Although there is no treatment for measles, there is a very effective tool to prevent it, the measles vaccine. In fact, it is possible to eliminate the disease completely from the country by immunizing a certain percent of the population with the vaccine. The latter is what the Philippines is currently attempting to do. (PIA 8) [top]

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