National dengue alert declared as killer disease spikes across Philippines

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national dengue alert
A national dengue alert has been declared. Advice to protect against the disease given below.

Philippine health chiefs have declared a national dengue alert following a rapid increase in cases of the mosquito-borne disease across the country. 

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III made the declaration today (Monday, July 15) after revealing that reported infections had reached 106,630 — 85 per cent up on last year with 57,564 cases.

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He also revealed that Region 4-B (Mimaropa), Western Visayas, Central Visayas and Northern Mindanao had all exceeded the epidemic threshold for dengue.

“Clustering of cases must be identified by the Department of Health (DOH) regional office as a basis for declaring a localised epidemic at the barangay level,” he said at a press briefing.

Meanwhile, Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Calabarzon, Bicol, Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Davao, Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and the Cordillera Administrative Region are being monitored after exceeding the alert threshold.

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Most cases are from Western Visayas — 13,164; Calabarzon – 11,474; Central Visayas – 9,199; Soccsksargen – 9,107; and Northern Mindanao – 8,739 for the period of January to June 29 this year.

“Dengue cases have been observed to peak every three to four years. The last peak occurred in 2016, given this pattern, the DOH expects an increase in cases this year,” Duque said.

National dengue alert

Even though dengue is a viral disease which can’t be cured through antibiotics and vaccines, Duque stressed that early detection and proper case management can help prevent deaths.

“Effective surveillance can also help in reducing cases and deaths if areas with clustering of cases are identified early. Signs and symptoms of disease are severe headache, pain behind the eyes, severe joint and muscle pain, fatigue, nausea, vomiting and skin rashes,” he said.

Duque reiterated that the “4S strategy” remained the most effective way to prevent dengue cases and deaths. 

These are:

SEARCH AND DESTROY

  • Cover drums, pails and other waste containers at all times
  • Clean and replace the water in flower vases once a week
  • Cover the holes around the house with soil or sand
  • Remove or pierce old tires that are being used as roof support; also, those tires placed around the house that might hold water
  • Flip-over empty bottles, jars, tin cans and other items that can collect and hold water
  • Clean and remove water on dish racks and other household items that can hold water

SELF-PROTECTION MEASURES

  • Use mosquito repellants to avoid mosquito bites
  • Use mosquito nets when sleeping at daytime
  • Wear long sleeves or clothes that will protect your skin from mosquito bites

SEEK EARLY CONSULTATION

  • Seek and consult with the neast health facility if you already have fever for two days

SAY ‘YES’ TO FOGGING DURING OUTBREAKS

  • Fogging should be done when there is an impending – and during – outbreaks

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