Measles cases reported in almost every PH province

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 28) —  Cases of measles have now been reported in nearly every province in the country, according to the latest findings of the Department of Health (DOH).

Data as of February 22 revealed that only the provinces of Batanes and Tawi-Tawi, as well as General Santos City are reported to be the only areas that remain measles-free.

Authorities and health officials blamed vaccine hesitancy for the continuous spread of measles in the country.

"Meron paring mga bata na hindi parin naabot ng vaccination o hindi nadadala sa center para mabakunahan na nahahawa pa," said DOH Undersecretary Eric Domingo.

[Translation: There are still kids who have not received vaccination or have not been transferred to centers to have themselves vaccinated.]

An outbreak of measles, a highly contagious illness caused by a virus spread through air, has been declared over Metro Manila, Central Luzon, CALABARZON, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, and in most of Cagayan Valley.

In its latest report on measles, the Health Department recorded over 13,000 cases, with more than 200 cases resulting in death.

Health officials again appealed to the public to have their children vaccinated.

To reach more children, the DOH is also working on agreements with schools.

"In the communities, we're targeting the kids na six months to five years. Pagdating naman sa schools yung grade 1-4 naman yung babakunahan so six hanggang mga ten years old (When it comes to schools, students from grades 1-4 will be vaccinated, so they will be about six to ten years old.)," Domingo added.

READ: 'Fake news is deadly': The numbers behind measles cases and immunization in the Philippines