Catch-up measles immunization

Stopping measles transmission through the high risk approach

The measles-rubella supplemental immunization activity proved to have significantly reduced measles incidence per million population from 69.1 in 2011 to 15.9 as of September 2012. However, it is not sufficient to thoroughly stop measles transmission in the country. Figure 2 shows that compared to 2011, the number of measles cases affecting the 1 year to under 10 years children has reduced. It also shows that the many cases are now occurring among the under 9 months and the greater than 10 years old population. This put the Philippines at risk of not being able to achieve the elimination goal by the end of 2012.

In the Philippines, a suspect measles case is reportable to the health authorities. A suspect measles case is defined as any individual with a history of fever and rash with accompanying symptoms of either cough, runnynose (coryza) or red eyes (conjunctivitis). A small amount of serum or dried blood spot is collected from each suspect measles case for laboratory confirmation of the measles infection. Nasopharyngeal or oropharyngeal swab is also encouraged to be taken from a suspect case within five days of the rash onset for measles virus isolation and determination of the specific virus genotype. The latter is critical to determine the circulating measles virus genotype and to document the elimination of the D9 genotype endemic to the Philippines.