Manila, Philippines – The Department of Health declared a national dengue alert on Monday, July 15, 2019. This was after the mosquito-borne disease took the lives of more than 450 people in just a span of six months – from January to June 2019.
National Alert – but there’s no national epidemic
The rapid increase of dengue cases is reported in several regions of the country. But Secretary Francisco Duque III gives assurance to the public that there was no national epidemic as dengue alerts are “certainly regional.”
He also said that the objective of the national alert was “to raise awareness among the public, and more importantly, in communities where signs of early dengue increases are evident.”
Let’s look at the numbers
DOH mentioned that there were five regions that already exceeded the epidemic threshold. So far, Western Visayas is the top among the regions with the most number of reported cases with 13, 164. It is followed by CALABARZON (11,474 cases), Central Visayas (9,199 cases), Soccskargen (9,107 cases), and Northern Mindanao (8,739 cases), respectively.
Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, CALABARZON, Bicol Region, Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Davao Region, Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, and Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), are also under monitoring after exceeding the alert threshold.
On the other hand, according to the record of the DOH, there were a total of 106,630 dengue cases reported nationwide from January 1 to June 29, 2019. This includes 456 deaths which include lives of infants and a centenarian.
Duque said that this year’s record shows 85 percent higher compared to last year with 57, 564 total cases.
Effective surveillance is needed
Secretary Duque explained that dengue has no vaccine or specific antivirals. Reducing cases and deaths resulting from this viral disease needs effective surveillance. This includes early identification of areas or regions where dengue cases are clustering.