Philippines declares dengue epidemic

Philippines declares dengue outbreak an epidemic

Philippines declares dengue outbreak an epidemic

In this April 30, 2019 file photo, Philippine Health Secretary Dr. Francisco Duque III displays a graph showing the decline of the measles outbreak in the country during a press conference during World Immunization Week 2019 in Manila, Philippines.

From January to July this year 146,062 cases of dengue in the whole Philippines has already recorded (98 percent higher in the number of cases in January-July of last year).

He said the declaration of an epidemic was needed so local governments in badly hit places could use "quick response funds" to fight the disease.

The Department of Health (DOH) has declared a national dengue epidemic due to the continuous surge of dengue cases in the country.

Dengue is caused by a virus carried by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. There is no known cure.

But the program was halted after the French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi, which developed Dengvaxia, announced that in rare cases, vaccinating people with no prior history of dengue infection could lead them to develop a more severe form of the disease.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, chairman of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), said he had ordered all relevant agencies to support a nationwide response.

In addition, 622 deaths have been reported.

Officials said the Western Visayas region of the Philippines had the most cases, at more than 23,000, followed by the suburbs south of Manila, the capital, which had more than 16,500 cases.

Duque on Tuesday called on other government agencies, schools, offices and communities get out of offices, homes and schools every afternoon to take part in efforts to "search and destroy mosquito breeding sites".

Other areas that exceeded the alert threshold include Ilocos Region that listed 4,396 cases, Central Visayas with 10,728 and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao with 2,301. "We don't have medicine, we don't have vaccination, so this is the only way we can prevent the spread of dengue, and we hope that could also decrease the number of cases we have recorded", Duque said.

As we reported last month, the DOH declared a "National Dengue Alert" as cases reached 106,630 by June 29 - 85 per cent higher than past year.

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