The Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III declared a national health emergency against dengue, Monday, after its death toll reached at least 491 for the first seven months of 2019.
In declaring the alert, Duque said: “the objective is very clear: we want to raise awareness among the public and, more importantly, in communities where signs of early dengue increases are evident.”
Statistics and affected regions
According to DOH records, the said fatality figure is 155 deaths higher than 336 in 2018, with most of the victims being children. Additional data also showed a spike of 22% in dengue cases nationwide, tallying 5,744 from June 30 to July 6 this year from 4,703 cases reported in the same period in 2018.
Moreover, DOH also reported 115,986 cases of dengue from Jan 1-July 6, 2019, which nearly doubled the 62,267 cases in the same period in 2018.
There are five regions affected by the emergency: Mimaropa, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Northern Mindanao, and Soccsksargen. Other regions being monitored are Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Calabarzon, Bicol, Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga peninsula, Davao, Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and Cordillera Administrative Region.
The World Health Organization (WHO) also warned the government about the possibility of facing severe dengue issues this year.
WHO country representative Gundo Weiler announced this as the number of dengue cases in the Philippines rise, which can be attributed to various factors including climate change and migration.
“So, the situation is not so unique in the Philippines. Dengue globally is a huge issue. More than half of the world’s population is living in areas where there is exposure to dengue,” he added.
In a statement, Duque said that the surge of dengue cases in the Philippines happens every three to four years. The said spike also happened as the country is battling measles outbreak that endangers the lives of children.
Female aedes aegypti mosquitoes are the carrier of dengue virus and can be transmitted only by mosquito bites. Everyone is urged to follow precautionary measures to prevent being infected by constantly cleaning the environment and destroying the mosquitoes’ breeding places.