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Measles death toll soars to 70 in Philippines: Official
By Manolo B. Jara February 12, 2019
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MANILA: The country’s top health official on Monday reported that the total death toll from the outbreaks arising from the scourge of measles has totalled at least 70, with four out of five of those killed have not been vaccinated against the ailment.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque cited reports reaching the health department epidemiology bureau that 70 deaths came from the total of 4,301 measles cases, or an increase of 122 percent recorded from Jan.1 to Feb.6 this year compared to the same period with 18 deaths in 2018.

Duque said that Calabarzon, which stands for the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon in Southern Luzon and considered one of the country’s fast-growing and richest regions accounted for the largest number of deaths with 25 from a total of 1,086 cases.

Coming in second was Metro Manila with 18 deaths from 1,296 cases; followed by Central Luzon with 481 cases and three deaths; Western Visayas with 212 cases and four deaths; as well as Northern Mindanao with 180 cases and five deaths.

Duque has repeatedly attributed the measles outbreak in various parts of the country to the “scare” and “panic” posed by the controversial use of the Dengvaxia vaccine used earlier by former president Benigno “NoyNoy” Aquino in the campaign against the mosquitop-borne dengue disease.

In 2018, Duque admitted that the country’s immunization rate plunged to 40 pecent from an average of 70 percent in recent years. Officials blamed the sharp decline to the use of Dengvaxia that scared parents and prevented them from allowing their children to undergo measles immunization.

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