Measles cases in the Philippines increase by more than 350% - WHO

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — More than 10,000 measles cases have been reported this year.

The latest count by the World Health Organization (WHO) Philippines office is 17,298 measles cases as of November this year. This is 367 percent more than the 3,706 cases reported last year.

"Unvaccinated young children are at highest risk of measles and its complications, including death. Have your children vaccinated at the nearest health center," the WHO Philippines said on Facebook.

Measles is a highly-contagious airborne viral disease that used to be an epidemic until a vaccine was developed in 1963.

Symptoms can appear around 10 days after the infection, which include high fever, cough, runny nose, bloodshot eyes or conjunctivitis, white spots inside the mouth, and rashes on the face, neck and whole body.

Unvaccinated children and pregnant women have the highest risks of developing measles, which could lead to long term complications and even death.

In October this year, the Department of Health (DOH) Bicol Office reported a 300 percent increase in measles cases in the region. DOH Bicol has monitored 239 measles cases from January to September, which included 6 deaths. Those who died were not vaccinated.

The DOH regional office said that fears of vaccination following the Dengvaxia scandal is one of the reasons for the spike in measles cases.

Zamboanga City has declared a measles outbreak in February.

According to the City Health Office (CHO) of Zamboanga City, 495 measles cases were reported from January to September, six of them fatal.

Bicol-based journalist Rosas Olarte and Zamboanga-based journalist Marlon Pañares contributed to this report.