Philippines declares dengue outbreak an epidemic

SAFETY CHECK – At the San Lazaro Hospital in Manila schoolchildren who had Dengvaxia shots are checked for signs of complications. President Duterte wants accountability established in the deaths of several children who were given the vaccine. (Ali Vic

SAFETY CHECK – At the San Lazaro Hospital in Manila schoolchildren who had Dengvaxia shots are checked for signs of complications. President Duterte wants accountability established in the deaths of several children who were given the vaccine. (Ali Vic

The Department of Health has declared a national dengue epidemic as the number of cases recorded across the country continues to rise.

He added that a "national emergency" or "state of calamity" had not been declared as some areas were affected more than others. The vaccine, now licensed in 20 countries according to the World Health Organization, is approved for use for those aged nine and older. The Philippines declared an initial "national dengue alert" in July. Western Visayas had the most recorded cases with more than 23,000, with significant outbreaks also in Calabarzon, the Zamboanga Peninsula and Northern Mindanao.

Meanwhile, seven (7) out of these seventeen (17) regions have exceeded the epidemic threshold of dengue in their regions for the past three consecutive weeks. This is one of the primary interventions to prevent and control dengue.

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"The committees also backed HR No. 1519 for a probe on the P3.5-billion purchase of Dengvaxia vaccines by the Department of Health as introduced by Buhay party-list Rep. Joselito Atienza Jr., HR No. 1675 "strongly denouncing the blatant disregard of people's health and safety in the dengue vaccine scandal" as introduced by Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate and the November 28, 2016 privilege speech of Oriental Mindoro Rep. Paulino Salvador Leachon seeking an inquiry on the "apparent, obvious and manifest" illegality of the procurement and misappropriation of public funds relative to the dengue vaccination of the DoH amounting to P3.5 billion".

In a media briefing Tuesday, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the department is reviewing the appeal of French pharmaceutical firm Sanofi Pasteur, Inc.to lift the vaccine ban amid the spike in dengue cases.

Department of Health (DOH) figures show that the Western Visayas had the most cases with 23,330. They normally develop between four and 10 days after infection and pass off in about a week. Symptoms can include a fever, pain behind the eyes and a red rash.

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