DOH reports steep drop in dengue cases
MANILA, Philippines — Dengue cases have dropped by at least 76 percent this year owing to the “increased awareness” among Filipinos of the need to keep their communities clean, the Department of Health (DOH) said.
As of Aug. 15, a total of 59,675 dengue cases have been reported nationwide, down from the over 270,000 cases reported in the same period last year. Deaths due to the mosquito-borne disease also fell to 231 from the more than 1,100 recorded in August last year.
Dr. Norielyn Evangelista, the DOH’s national Aedes-borne viral diseases prevention and control program manager, said the decline can be attributed to the massive information and education campaigns, better surveillance and vector control, or the control of disease-carrying insects and other animals, following last year’s dengue outbreak.
“This can be attributed to the increased awareness of Filipinos. We have realized that health is wealth. Our 4S strategy, searching and destroying breeding places, and cleaning our surroundings—these [contributed] to the decrease in the number of dengue cases,” Evangelista said.
Despite rainy season
To date, no province or region has reached its alert or epidemic threshold despite the country officially being in the rainy season when cases tend to rise.
In November last year, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III already anticipated dengue cases this year to be fewer because of the disease’s natural three-year cycle when cases drop.
Based on available data, the DOH saw 213,930 cases in 2015 and 220,518 cases in 2016. Total dengue cases dropped to 152,224 in 2017, which increased to 216,190 in 2018 and peaked at 430,282 last year.
Similar to last year, Evangelista said the dominant circulating strain is Serotype 3. This strain causes fever, muscle pains, headache, loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhea. It is one of the milder strains as those hit by it aren’t hospitalized for long.
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