By URIEL QUILINGUING
Special to the Gold Star Daily .
THE Department of Health in Region 10 on Monday alerted all its personnel and state-run hospitals to be ready at all times as the number of measles cases increased and over fears these may reach emergency levels in Northern Mindanao.
DOH regional director Nimfa Torrizo issued Memorandum No. 11 which directed all DOH Center for Health Development Northern Mindanao employees and attached offices, including DOH-retained hospital and medical centers to be on “Code White Alert” effective Feb. 19, 2019 until it is lifted.
DOH 10-retained hospitals are the Northern Mindanao Medical Center in Cagayan de Oro and Mayor Hilarion A. Ramiro Sr. Regional and Teaching Hospital in Ozamiz City, and Amai Pakpak Medical Center in Marawi City.
Torrizo said the Code White Alert is “in relation to increasing number of measles and other diseases” and that “all response teams and committees are on standby, on-call and to report to the office immediately in case of any emergency situation.” Aside from measles, DOH-10 is also closely monitoring dengue cases.
She also advised the public to avail of direct assistance from DOH-CHD-NM Regional Epidemiology Surveillance and Disaster Response Unit (Resdru) which is headed by Dr. David Mendoza through mobile hotlines: 09177143834 and 09196505865.
On Wednesday last week, DOH-10’s Non-Communicable Diseases head Dr. Ian Gonzales said that although there were 289 cases with two deaths since Jan. 1 until Feb. 14, the DOH has not declared a measles outbreak in the region. An outbreak is a sudden detection of a disease, where the number of cases is greater than expected.
Nationwide, the DOH recorded 8,443 measles cases and 136 fatalities, as of Feb. 16 since Jan. 1, this year and these compelled the DOH to declare measles outbreaks in Metro Manila, Calabarzon, Central Luzon, Eastern Visayas and Western Visayas regions.
Measles which is a preventable viral disease on the respiratory tract can spread either through the air or direct contact with an infected person. It is caused by a rubeola virus which thrives in the mucus of the nose and throat of an infected person.
To prevent infection, a person has to be immunized with a measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine. An infected person, without timely medical treatment, may have severe diarrhea, pneumonia and may even lead to blindness, worst case of which is death.