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2019 Philippines measles outbreak

The 2019 Philippines measles outbreak began in early 2019. An outbreak of measles was officially declared in February 2019 in select administrative regions in Luzon and Visayas including Metro Manila by the Philippine government. The outbreak is attributed to lowered vaccination rates caused by the Dengvaxia controversy.

2019 Philippines measles outbreak
2019 Philippine measles outbreak map.png
Regions officially experiencing a measles outbreak in red.
First caseIndeterminate, Outbreak first declared in Metro Manila
Confirmed cases8,443



The Department of Health (DOH) of the Philippines declared a measles outbreak in Metro Manila due to an 550% increase of the number of patients from January 1 to February 6, 2019 compared to figures of the equivalent period from 2018.[1] Outbreaks were also officially declared in Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Western Visayas, and Central Visayas.[2][3]

The outbreak has confirmed to have cause at least 4,302 cases and 70 deaths. Metro Manila and Calabarzon being the most affected regions with at least a thousand cases each.[4][5]

The DOH has recorded at 8,443 cases from January 1 to February 18, 2019 with 135 of these cases resulting to deaths.[6]


Vaccination against measles is available for free in government hospitals and health centers but there is a lowered trust in vaccination in the country. According to an opinion poll conducted by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in 2018, 32 percent of the surveyed 1,500 Filipinos trusted vaccines. In the 2015 iteration of the poll, 93 percent of the respondents said they trusted vaccines. Health Secretary Francisco Duque III attributes the lowered trust on the government's immunization drive due to the Dengvaxia controversy.[7]

The United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) said that the outbreak is caused by "failure of the health system" saying that the distribution of vaccines down to the barangay level has not worked properly. They cited that immunization rates in the country has been declining in the past 10 to 15 years with about 74% immunized at the time of the outbreak compared to a high of 88%; 10 or 15 years ago.[1]


The Department of Health released an informercial featuing boxer Manny Pacquiao in order encourage parents and guardians to get their children vaccinated against measles in response to the outbreak.[8]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Aguilar, Krissy (7 February 2019). "Failure of health system leads to measles outbreak – UNICEF". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 9 February 2019.
  2. ^ "DOH Expands Measles Outbreak Declarations to Other Regions". Department of Health. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  3. ^ "Questions and answers on the measles outbreak in the Philippines". World Health Organization. 12 February 2019. Retrieved 20 February 2019.
  4. ^ Cruz, Sofia Toma (11 February 2019). "At least 70 deaths due to measles – DOH". Rappler. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  5. ^ "Number of measles cases climbs to more than 4,300 — DOH". CNN Philippines. 11 February 2019. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  6. ^ "Measles cases breach 8,000 mark but may dwindle in April – DOH". CNN Philippines. 19 February 2019. Retrieved 20 February 2019.
  7. ^ "Measles outbreak declared in 3 more regions". ABS-CBN News. 7 February 2019. Retrieved 9 February 2019.
  8. ^ Crisostomo, Sheila (19 February 2019). "Measles outbreak death toll hits 136". The Philippine Star. Retrieved 20 February 2019.