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DOH Declares a National Dengue Epidemic After Cases Reach Over 146,000More than 146,000 cases have been declared nationwide, including 622 deaths.by Kate Borbon .
The Department of Health (DOH) declared the country has a national dengue epidemic on its hands yesterday, August 6, 2019, following the increasing number of dengue cases across several regions of the Philippines.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines epidemic as “an increase, often sudden, in the number of cases of a disease above what is normally expected in that population in that area.”
It was just last July 2019 when the department announced a national dengue alert after an increasing number of cases was observed in different parts of the country. According to a press release published on the DOH website at the time, over 106,000 cases were reported from January to June 29, 2019. The highest number of cases were found in Western Visayas, CALABARZON, Central Visayas, SOCCSKSARGEN (Central Mindanao), and Northern Mindanao.
Meanwhile, according to the latest data from the DOH, the number of dengue cases recorded between January and July 20, 2019, has reached more than 146,000, including 622 deaths. This number is 98% higher than the number of cases recorded during the same period in 2018.ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
The latest DOH Dengue Surveillance Report showed that the highest number of dengue cases to date were recorded in Western Visayas (23,330 cases), Region IV-A or CALABARZON (16,515 cases), Region IX or the Zamboanga Peninsula (12,317 cases), Region X or Northern Mindanao (11,455 cases), and Region XII or SOCCSKSARGEN (11,083 cases).
For the week of July 14 to 20, 2019 alone, there were 10,502 cases recorded nationwide — 71% higher than the number of cases recorded during the same period in 2018.
According to DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III, the declaration of an epidemic will make it easier for various government agencies to take collective action, ABS-CBN News reports.
“It is important that a national epidemic be declared in these areas to identify where a localized response is needed and to enable the local government units to use their Quick Respond Fund to address the epidemic situation,” Duque said in a press briefing at the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council headquarters in Quezon City on August 6.ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
How to prevent dengue is the “4S strategy”
A new press release on the DOH website stated that the department, along with other government agencies, local government units (LGUs), schools, offices, and communities, is now conducting the “Sabayang 4-O’Clock Habit,” a strategy focusing on searching and destroying mosquito breeding sites. DOH has always said the following 4S approach is the most effective way to prevent dengue.
- Search and destroy mosquito breeding places.
- Self-protective measures like long sleeves and the use of insect repellent.
- Seek early consultation on the first signs and symptoms of the disease
- Say yes to fogging if there is an impending outbreak.
“This is one of the primary interventions to prevent and control dengue, and this is obviously a line for the 4S Kontra Dengue,” Duque said in the press briefing, as reported by Inquirer. 4S Kontra Dengue is another strategy of the department to kill female Aedes mosquitoes, which carry the dengue virus.ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
The latest on the dengue vaccine
On July 31, 2019, ABS-CBN News reported that Malacañang Palace is open to the idea of making the controversial Dengvaxia vaccine available again if there is enough proof that it will be helpful for Filipinos.
“We’re always open to anything that will benefit the Filipino people,” Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo told reporters. “We’re not closed to any suggestion. If the weight of the findings show that there is benefit in using Dengvaxia against dengue then certainly government should reconsider it.” Panelo elaborated that this matter needs to be thoroughly discussed by experts first.
On August 2, however, the DOH expressed its reservations regarding making the vaccine available for use in mass vaccination programs. In a report by GMA News Online, Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo stated, “Hindi siya for mass vaccination. Kasi wala tayong screening test available to check the general public kung ikaw ay nagka-dengue na dati o hindi pa.”ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
In December 2018, the European Commission approved Dengvaxia vaccine for use in Europe for individuals between ages 9 and 45 years old who have a documented prior dengue infection and are living in areas where the disease is endemic (constantly prevalent).
Sanofi, the pharmaceutical company that created the Dengvaxia vaccine, stated in a press release that the vaccine has also been authorized for use in several Latin American and Asian countries where dengue is endemic, and the reduction of dengue cases is critical.
Know more about how to protect your children from dengue here.
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