A measles outbreak in the Philippines partly blamed on vaccination fears has claimed 136 lives — half of them children ages 1 to 4 — and 8,400 others have fallen ill with the contagious disease, a health official said Monday, report New York Post.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said a sweeping immunization drive that began last week in the hard-hit capital, Manila, and four provincial regions may contain the outbreak by April.
In a TV address Friday, President Rodrigo Duterte warned of fatal complications and urged that children be immunized.
Infections skyrocketed by more than 1,000 percent in metropolitan Manila — which has a population of more than 12 million — in January compared to last year, according to health officials.
The Philippines halted the anti-dengue immunization drive after Sanofi said a study showed the vaccine may actually increase the risks of severe dengue infections.
More than 830,000 children were injected with the Dengvaxia vaccine under the campaign, which was launched in 2016 under then-President Benigno Aquino III.
News about vaccination fears in the Philippines comes amid recent reports of one of the worst measles outbreaks in New York state in about 20 years — including in Orthodox communities in Brooklyn and Rockland County.
Last month, 55 cases of the virus were reported among unvaccinated children in Borough Park, Bensonhurst, Midwood/Marine Park and Williamsburg since October, according to the city Department of Health.
There were 112 confirmed cases in the rest of the state as of Jan. 8.