DOH declares national dengue epidemic as cases surge higher this year

DOH declares national dengue epidemic as cases surge higher this year

By Kristelle Bechayda

A national dengue epidemic has been declared by The Department of Health (DOH) earlier today, August 6, as the cases of dengue nationwide continue to alarmingly rise.

Ninety eight percent rise in dengue cases

In a press briefing, which was recorded live on DOH’s Facebook page, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III stated there has been a total of 146,062 recorded cases from January until July this year, which is 98 percent higher compared to the same period last year.

Out of the 146,062 cases, there have been a total of 622 deaths recorded, making it a 0.4 percent case fatality rate.

According to the current data of DOH, the following regions have the most number of cases: Western Visayas at 23,330; Calabarzon at 16,515; Zamboanga Peninsula at 12,317; Northern Mindanao at 11,455; and Soccskargen with 11,083.

“It is important that a national epidemic be declared in these areas to identify where our localized response is needed and to enable the local government units to use their Quick Response Fund to address the epidemic situation.” Duque explained.

What is dengue?

As defined by World Health Organization (WHO), dengue is a ‘mosquito-borne viral infection causing a severe flu-like illness and, sometimes causing a potentially lethal complication called severe dengue.’

It was in the 1950s when severe dengue, or dengue haemorrhagic fever as it was previously known, was first recognized during dengue epidemics in the Philippines and Thailand.

The viral disease is said to flourish in ‘urban poor areas, suburbs and the countryside but also affects more affluent neighbourhoods in tropical and subtropical countries. Dengue has become a leading cause of hospitalization and death among both children and adults in Asian and Latin American countries.

Signs to look out for

So how would you know if your child has dengue? According to our columnist, Dr. Celeste Gomez, shares that having a fever of 37.8 degrees celsius and above, as well as other flu-like symptoms like muscle pains and headache are some of the warning signs to look out for.

“There are some cases that children may also present with mucosal bleeding or bleeding at the inner parts of the body such as the nose bleeding, gum bleeding, blood seen at stools or vomiting of coffee ground particles. If these are experienced together with a positive dengue test, hospitalization is also necessary because these are already some of the ‘warning signs’ of the dengue virus,” Dr. Gomez said.

She added that a patient should be taken immediately to the hospital if he or she starts to bleed. To read more about Dr. Gomez’s column, click here.