Philippines on dengue alert

Under observation: Patients lying on bed in the dengue room at the San Lazaro government hospital in Manila. — AP

MANILA: While the number of dengue cases is not as deeply concerning, the Philippines has the highest fatality rate in South-East Asia, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said.

He also appealed to the public to immediately seek treatment once they experience symptoms of the mosquito-borne disease, which has claimed 720 lives so far this year.

He said that although the increase in the number of dengue cases in the country is not as deeply concerning as that of its neighbours, the Philippines “continues to have the highest case fatality rate” at 0.3%.Apart from the Philippines, a dengue epidemic is also being experienced in Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Singapore and Indonesia.

As of July 27, the Department of Health (DOH) has already recorded a total of 167, 607 dengue cases and 720 deaths nationwide.

“It’s because sometimes the response is late. That’s why we are appealing to the parents that if your child has fever for two days or more (they should already seek treatment), ” Duque said on Tuesday.

Of the four dengue strains, Dengue 3 is the predominant strain this year, accounting for 72% of all confirmed cases.

Though “milder”, this strain, and Dengue 4, cause fever, muscle pains, headache, loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhoea.

On Tuesday, Duque led a “search and destroy” activity inside the DOH compound in Manila where he saw a makeshift planter box and an outdoor ornamental jar to have been filled with stagnant water due to the rains Monday night.

Duque said it was important for the public to take notice of their surroundings as things like these, which are often overlooked, are where dengue-carrying mosquitoes can breed.

To date, 10 regions have already breached the epidemic threshold, with Western Visayas, Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) and Zamboanga Peninsula having the highest number of cases in the country.

Ilocos and the National Capital Region are meanwhile being monitored as they near the alert threshold. — Philippine Daily Inquirer/Asia News Network

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