Dengue cases near DOH’s year-end projection of 240K
MANILA, Philippines — Despite the government’s declaration in August of a national dengue epidemic to better address the spread of the disease, the number of infected individuals continued to rise, inching closer to the Department of Health’s (DOH) projected year-end total of 240,000 cases.
Based on the DOH monitoring, the number of dengue cases across the country as of Aug. 17, had risen to 229,736, with 958 deaths.
This figure not only represents an increase of 107 percent from the same period last year but is also the highest since 2012.
Last month, the DOH declared a national dengue epidemic to help identify areas where local response was needed and to enable local governments to use their quick response funds to address the situation.
But while there are efforts to curb the rising number of dengue cases, Dr. Ferchito Avelino, chief of the Epidemiology Bureau, said on Tuesday that it was imperative for local governments to conduct activities like searching and destroying mosquito breeding grounds in a “coordinated” manner.
“The problem is if it’s not coordinated, there is still a potential for mosquitoes to breed. If one municipality will act but the other won’t, the mosquitoes would just transfer,” Avelino said.
He noted that other initiatives, such as releasing frogs in sewers or giving rice in exchange for a number of mosquitoes killed, would not make much of a difference in addressing the epidemic.
“You’re only targeting the adult mosquitoes. What about the larvae? Our focus should be on source reduction. Our interventions should be synchronized, systematic and regular, not just one-time,” Avelino said.
Earlier, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III warned that dengue cases may reach 240,000 this year.
It appears, however, that total cases may surpass that estimate, as the peak season for the disease has only begun and is expected to last till November.
The last time the country saw a surge in dengue cases was in 2016, with 220,518 cases and 1,092 deaths recorded for the year.
Based on DOH data, this is the first time since 2012 that the country is expected to breach the 240,000 mark. In the last seven years, full-year cases range from a little over 113,000 to more than 220,000.
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