What You Must Know about Measles Now

February 18, 2019


What You Must Know About Measles Now

With the 547% increase in measles cases nationwide, the Department of Health has declared an outbreak in Metro Manila, Central Luzon, Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, Calabarzon, Mimaropa and Bicol Region.Health authorities have emphasized the need to bring children to the nearest health facility at the first sign of fever. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), measles remains as a leading cause of death among children.


Here are some of the most basic questions and the answers to give us a good background on measles:

What is measles? Also known as rubeola, it is a respiratory disease caused by a virus which “lives in the nose and throat mucus of an infected person”, and can be spread through sneezing, coughing and close personal contact.


What are the symptoms? The most notable signs, which develop 7-14 days after infection, include high fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat, red, watery eyes, white spots in the mouth and red-spotted rash.


How does it spread? The highly contagious disease is transmitted through humans, and the risk is greater among those who are not vaccinated. It is usually spread through coughing and sneezing, and the virus can stay active on a surface or airspace after an infected person coughs or sneezes for around two hours.


What are the complications? Measles can lead to blindness, broncho pneumonia and infection and swelling of the brain. Other complications include severe diarrhea and related dehydration and ear infections.


What is the treatment for measles? To avoid complications from measles, proper health care with good nutrition, adequate fluid intake and treatment of dehydration is needed. Vitamin A supplements are recommended for children. Antibiotics are prescribed for infections and pneumonia.


How to prevent measles? Regular vaccination for children and mass immunization campaigns are key to preventing measles outbreaks. To prevent illness, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the following:

  • Wash hands often. In the absence of soap and water, use hand sanitzer (with at least 60% alcohol).
  • Don’t touch eyes, nose or mouth unnecessarily. Make sure hands are clean if you need to touch your face.
  • Cover mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid close physical contact with people who are sick.


Should any of the symptoms manifest itself, consult your doctor immediately for proper diagnosis and treatment.

[1] Coconuts Manila. [2019, February]. Health Department Says Measles Outbreak has Spread to Other Parts of Luzon and Visayas. Retrieved from https://coconuts.co/manila/news/health-department-says-measles-outbreak-spread-parts-luzon-visayas/?utm_source=Coconuts+Media+Mailing+List&utm_campaign=54f1d761e3-20190207_Manila&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c10d7999ee-54f1d761e3-81487709

[2] Rappler.com. [2019, February]. DOH: Measles outbreak expands to other areas of Luzon, Visayas. Retrieved from https://www.rappler.com/nation/222909-doh-declares-measles-outbreak-other-areas-luzon-central-eastern-visayas

[3] Bennington-Castro, J. [2015, February]. What is Measles? Retrieved from https://www.everydayhealth.com/measles/guide/

[4] Pohle, A. [2015, May]. 10 Essential Facts About Measles. Retrieved from https://www.everydayhealth.com/news/essential-facts-about-measles/

[5] Pohle, A. [2015, May]. 10 Essential Facts About Measles. Retrieved from https://www.everydayhealth.com/news/essential-facts-about-measles/

[6] Bennington-Castro, J. [2015, February]. What is Measles? Retrieved from https://www.everydayhealth.com/measles/guide/

[7] Mundasad, S. [2018, November]. Measles resurgence ‘due to vaccine hesitancy’, WHO warns. Retrieved from https://www.bbc.com/news/health-46387167

[8] World Health Organization. [2018, November]. Measles. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/measles

[9] World Health Organization. [2018, November]. Measles. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/measles

[10] World Health Organization. [2018, November]. Measles. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/measles

[11] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. [2018, May]. Measles. Retrieved from https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/diseases/measles