The Department of Health (DOH) announced yesterday that we have a national dengue epidemic, according to GMA News. From January to July 20, there have been 146,062 recorded cases, which is 98% higher than the same period last year. Of these cases, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said 622 people died due to the viral disease.
DOH data showed that the most number of dengue cases are in the regions of Western Visayas (23,330), Calabarzon (16,515), Zamboanga Peninsula (12,317), Northern Mindanao (11,455), and Soccsksargen (11,083).
“It is important that a national epidemic be declared in these areas to identify where a localized 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 GMA News.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, chairperson of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, also ordered all member-agencies to support the nationwide response to the dengue epidemic.
The news comes after the DOH declared a national dengue alert last month. As for the controversial Dengvaxia vaccine, Malacañang has said its return would have to go through extensive discussions, according to GMA News. In 2017, the DOH halted the vaccination program for school children after manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur revealed clinical data that found that Dengvaxia poses more risks to people who have not previously had dengue.
Since there is no specific medicine for dengue and no vaccine rolled out nationwide, Duque emphasized the importance of prevention and monitoring. In partnership with other government agencies, schools, offices, and communities, the DOH will conduct the “Sabayang 4 O’clock Habit Para Deng-Get Out.” Here are the DOH’s 4S tips:
- Search and destroy mosquito breeding sites.
- Self-protective measures.
- Seek early consultation. (Dengue symptoms include a fever for more than two days, severe joint and muscle pain, fatigue, nausea, skin rashes, and bleeding.)
- Say yes to selective fogging.
Of the program, Duque said, “Wala po tayong gamot, wala tayong bakuna, so talagang ito lang ang bukod tanging paraan sa ngayon na puwede nating gawin para maiwasan ang pagkalat ng dengue at sana po ay mabawasan ang bilang ng dengue.”
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