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Drop in dengue cases seen in September, but stay vigilant — DOH

MANILA, Philippines — While the number of new dengue cases has dropped to below 9,000 for the first time since July, the public should remain vigilant and sustain its efforts to prevent the spread of the mosquito-borne disease, the Department of Health (DOH) said on Tuesday.

The 8,856 new dengue cases and 15 deaths recorded from Sept. 15 to 21 based on monitoring by the DOH Epidemiology Bureau (EB), was a marked drop from the more than 13,000 cases seen at the start of September.

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Since the dengue outbreak was announced in August, weekly cases averaged more than 10,000.

Although the number of new cases has declined by close to a thousand from the Sept. 8 to 14 period, the figure was still 25 percent higher compared to the same period last year, the DOH said.

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Despite the decline in the number of new dengue cases, it is still too early to tell if the dengue epidemic has started to taper off, cautioned DOH-EB chief Dr. Ferchito Avelino.

“The drop in new cases may be due to the lack of rain, which in effect lessens the breeding sites for the dengue-carrying Aedes aegypti mosquito,” he said.

Avelino added that the “delay in the transmission of reports” from the DOH regional offices may also affect reporting in a particular morbidity week.

There is an “incubation period” of at least three weeks before the DOH can say for certain that the cases are decreasing, he said.

And even with that, Avelino said the public must remember that there is a “second peak” of dengue cases which usually occur in October.

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Tuesday confirmed that the President’s youngest daughter, Veronica “Kitty” Duterte, also fell ill with dengue while President Rodrigo Duterte was in Russia for a five-day official visit last week, and has been confined in hospital.

“As far as I know, she is recovering,” Panelo said in a press briefing, quoting Kitty’s mother, Cielito “Honeylet” Avancena.

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On Monday night, Kitty shared on Instagram a short video of her father and some of her friends inside a hospital with the caption, “with daddy shark.”

Kitty was among thousands of students innoculated with the controversial antidengue vaccine Dengvaxia that, according to its manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur, could lead to severe dengue in patients not previously exposed to the virus.

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TAGS: Dengue outbreak, DoH, Ferchito Avelino
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