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Kids, adults with measles symptoms asked not to join Black Nazarene procession


A health official on Tuesday appealed to devotees not to bring their sick children to the Black Nazarene procession on Thursday to prevent the further spread of measles.

“Sa Pista ng Nazareno, alam ng Kagawaran ng Kalusugan na maraming namamanata kasama na yung mga bata. Ang mga batang may lagnat ay 'wag na pong pasamahin sa prusisyon para sa ganun ay makaiwas tayo sa pagkalat ng tigdas,” said Dr. Eric Tayag, assistant secretary of the Department of Health (DOH), at a news forum.

Tayag also asked adults who have fever not to join the procession.

“Ang panawagang ito ay hindi lang para sa mga bata,” he said. “Sino mang nilalagnat [ay] sa bahay na lang kayo, 'wag na kayong sumama sa prusisyon.”

The procession attracts millions of devotees every year, including those with sickness who believe participating in the event will cure them.

“Panawagan, yung mahina ang katawan, kalusugan at alam namin na kayo ay pupunta sa prusisyon para gumanda ang kalusugan, pakaisipin kung talagang kaya ng katawan. Bagama't kami ay nakaantabay, mas mabuti na kayo ay parati ring handa,” Tayag said.

Tayag said a person with measles can spread the virus to 18 more people, both child and adult, through cough or direct contact with body secretions or fluids. Measles can be transmitted four days before and after rashes have come out.

As of December 31, 2013, the DOH has recorded 1,724 laboratory-confirmed measles cases, with 21 deaths. It also declared outbreak in five cities in Metro Manila.

Tayag reiterated that sick children should be brought to hospital for early detection of disease and treatment.

The DOH has earlier advised the parents of children with measles symptoms to have them stay at home and not allow them to go to school.

Tayag said the DOH will put hospitals near the route of Black Nazarene procession under while alert, meaning all personnel are expected to be ready to respond to emergency situations.

“Kami ay magtataas ng white alert. Ang aming kalihim (Enrique Ona) ay inutusan ang mga ospital na malapit sa pagdarausan ng prusisyon para sa anumang untoward incident tulad ng tulakan, hinihimatay, mga sinusumpong ng altapresyon, para agarang mabibigyan ng pangunang lunas at kung kailangang dalhin sa ospital ay madadala agad,” he said.

Medical teams will also be in place in strategic locations, Tayag added.

Organizers of the Black Nazarene festivities have earlier asked pregnant devotees to stay away from the procession to avoid getting hurt and putting their lives at risk. — KBK, GMA News
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