Philippines Declares Dengue Fever Outbreak National Epidemic

An official conducts fogging to control mosquitos at the house of a dengue haemorrhagic fever patient in Lat Phrao area of Bangkok

An official conducts fogging to control mosquitos at the house of a dengue haemorrhagic fever patient in Lat Phrao area of Bangkok

The Philippines had declared a national dengue alert just last month after reporting more than 450 deaths - but officials had said the dengue was "localized", according to CNN affiliate CNN Philippines.

In a recent meeting in Quezon City, the families of the victims had pushed the Office of the Ombudsman to subpoena the (DOH), Philippine Health Corporation (PhilHealth) and the Social Security System (SSS) to produce the 2001-2018 SALNs and personal data sheets of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and his brother lawyer Gonzalo Duque over alleged irregularities.

"It is important that a National Epidemic be declared to identify if a localised response is needed, and to enable the local government units to use their Quick Response Fund to address the epidemic situation", Duque said.

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. These regions are: Region IV-A (CALABARZON) with 16,515 cases; MIMAROPA - 4,254; V (Bicol) with 3,470; VI (Western Visayas) with 23,330; VIII (Eastern Visayas) with 7,199; IX (Zamboanga Peninisula) with 12, 317; and X (Northern Mindanao) with 11,455 cases.

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Although the number of dengue cases reported in many other regions such as Ilocos and Central Visayas has not yet crossed the epidemic threshold, the risk is still high in these regions.

Francisco Duque III, the health secretary, said that 106,630 dengue cases had been reported between January and the end of June - an 85 per cent increase on the 57,564 cases reported from the same period previous year. This marks a whopping 98% rise from the number of dengue cases recorded in the country for the same period in 2018.

The Department of Health said that starting Tuesday, it was conducting a campaign to focus on finding and destroying mosquito breeding sites, which is a primary means of containing dengue.

While there is no preventative treatment for Dengue, it can be avoided by wearing insect repellent and clothes that cover the skin.

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