In addition, 861 suspected cases have been reported in the Metro Manila area during the first month of the year.
The Department of Health (DOH) said there had been 441 cases of measles in the Manila metropolitan area as of January 26, compared to 36 cases in 2018.
The measles outbreak covers 16 cities and one municipality in the NCR: Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas, Valenzuela, Quezon City, Marikina, Pasig, Taguig, Makati, Manila, Mandaluyong, San Juan, Pasay, Parañaque, Las Piñas and Muntinlupa, and the lone municipality of Pateros.
The health department in the Philippines announced the measles outbreak and blamed it on low vaccination rates among children.
In the eastern part of central Philippines, the uptick has been as high as 5,000 per cent, from just a single case a year ago to 54 as of Jan 26.
Duque also said the DOH was expanding the declaration to other regions in Luzon and the Visayas to strengthen surveillance of measles as cases have increased in the past weeks.
Dr. Ryan Llorin, an Infectious Diseases specialist at St. Luke's Medical Center, attributes the uptick in measles cases primarily to the Dengvaxia controversy. "People got scared of getting vaccines", he observes, adding that other vaccinations are also affected.
Parents have been reluctant to have their children immunised at government health centres, after a series of childhood deaths linked to the Dengvaxia dengue vaccine. It is transferred from person-to-person by sneezing, coughing, and close personal contact.
"Learning from the UNICEF family about the outbreak of the measles, you know, this is why it's very important to have proper immunization", Curtis said during an event by UNICEF. Symptoms include cough, runny nose, red eyes/conjunctivitis, fever, skin rashes lasting for more than 3 days.
He adds, "What's more unsafe about measles is it's contagious even before the rash appears".
The DOH said there was "low vaccine coverage because of the Dengvaxia scare".
The Department of Health is advising parents to be vigilant and vaccinate their children, especially since 2.4 million Filipino children are unvaccinated and are at risk of contracting the highly contagious disease, CNN Philippines reported.
People who already had measles in the past need not be alarmed because protection following a measles infection is life-long, says Dr. Llorin.
The Country had recently carried out successfully the largest ever measles vaccination campaign for children across Pakistan.