More than 600 deaths push Philippines to declare 'national dengue epidemic'

  • More than 600 deaths push Philippines to declare 'national dengue epidemic'

More than 600 deaths push Philippines to declare 'national dengue epidemic'

This, after declaring a national dengue epidemic in a joint press conference at Camp Aguinaldo with officials of the Department of National Defense, Department of Science and Technology, and the Department of the Interior and Local Government, as cases of the mosquito-borne disease continued to increase.

It mentioned the Philippines recorded 146,062 cases of dengue from January through July 20 this year, 98 % more than the same period in 2018. However, Duque, the health secretary, mentioned that the World Health Organization didn't recommend the use of the vaccine as an outbreak response.

As reported in Reuters, as authorities battle to contain a dengue outbreak that has killed more than 450 people this year, the Philippines is considering re-introducing a dengue vaccine whose use it halted because of links to the deaths of several children.

The epidemic was declared in order to enable government agencies to better identify at risk areas, said a health ministry statement. Alert thresholds vary from region to region as calculations take into account localised incidences of the disease within the last three to five years, but serve as an early warning system for the country.

According to Philippines' National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council spokesperson Mark Timbal, the government has not yet planned to reintroduce the Dengvaxia vaccine for the public, despite the dengue epidemic in the country. The regions were Calabarzon with 16,515; Mimaropa with 4,254; Region 5 (Bicol) with 3,470; Western Visayas with 23,330; Region 8 (Eastern Visayas) with 7,199; Zamboanga Peninsula with 12,317; and Northern Mindanao with 11,455 cases.

The total number of cases nationwide for the 29th Morbidity Week alone (July 14-20) is 10,502.

As a preventive measure against the spread of Dengue, the department of health said that it was conducting a campaign to focus on finding and destroying mosquito breeding sites, while also issuing guidelines for people to wear insect repellent and clothes that cover the skin. This is one of the primary interventions to prevent and control dengue.