Philippine parents and guardians urged to bring their children aged six to 59 months to health centers for free measles vaccination. (Source: philstar.com)

Hanoi (VNA) – More Philippine children are contracting measles, while the disease has yet to be put under control, according to the country’s Department of Health (DOH).

Latest data from the DOH showed that as of February 16, 8,443 cases of measles and 136 deaths had been reported since the country declared a measles outbreak on February 6.

The figures represented year-on-year rises of 253 percent in the number of cases and 491 percent in the death toll.

Most of the cases recorded this year are children below four years old, and half of the cases and nearly 60 percent of the deaths are in Metro Manila and Calabarzon region.

The DOH on February 6 declared a major measles outbreak in Metro Manila, and later expanded to other areas of the Philippine main Luzon island and Central and Eastern Visayas in the central Philippines.

According to Philippine Health Secretary Francisco Duque, cases will continue to rise as the outbreak has yet to be under control.

The DOH is working with government agencies in responding to the outbreak and conducting a nationwide immunization campaign.

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease that is transmitted via droplets from nose, mouth or throat of infected persons.-VNA