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WHO warns: Dengue to likely increase in rainy season; calls for action

by Maris Federez   |   Posted on Thursday, June 13th, 2019

The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a warning on the alarming increase of dengue cases in some parts of Asia.

In an advisory released on Wednesday (June12), the WHO said several Asian countries are experiencing unusually high numbers of dengue cases for this time of year.

With the rainy season approaching, the WHO is calling for action to minimize illness and deaths from dengue.

“Dengue is one of the fastest-spreading mosquito-borne diseases. Worldwide, the incidence of dengue has increased 30-fold over the past 50 years,” the news release said.

It added that, “of an estimated 2.5 billion people at risk for dengue globally, about 70% live in Asia Pacific countries. Climate conditions, unclean environments, unplanned urban settlements and rapid urbanization can lead to increased mosquito breeding, especially in urban and semi-urban areas.”

It further said, “several countries in the WHO Western Pacific Region such as Cambodia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Viet Nam have observed early increases in the number of dengue cases reported so far this year.”

In Cambodia, more than 1300 suspected cases were reported in week 21 alone — a level which is higher than expected for this time of the year.

In the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, as of week 21, a total of 4,216 suspected cases including 14 deaths have been reported.

In Malaysia, a total of 52,941 cases including 81 deaths were reported during the first 22 weeks of 2019.

In Singapore, as of week 21 of 2019, there were a total of 3,886 cases reported.

In Viet Nam, there have been a total of 59,959 suspected cases reported including four deaths as of week 19.

In the Philippines, a total of 77,040 suspected cases of dengue, including 328 deaths, were reported in the first 20 weeks of 2019.

The WHO said, “this is almost double the 41,104 cases reported during the same time period last year. Case numbers remain high, but as they are starting to decline, the rainy season is approaching.”

“The increased number of cases is of concern, but even more worrying is the increase in the rate of people dying from dengue, especially children,” said Dr Takeshi Kasai, WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific, adding that “this is a signal that we need to work with countries to strengthen care as well as prevention.”

“Health workers in dengue-endemic areas must be able to recognize the symptoms of dengue and the warning signs of severe dengue, do diagnostic tests and provide life-saving care. Also, families need to know what symptoms to look for and where to get early medical attention. This is especially urgent with the rainy season coming to many parts of Asia,” he added.

Call for action

The WHO advisory said that there is no specific treatment for dengue but early detection, improved clinical management and access to proper medical care for severe dengue can reduce fatality rates.

The international health body recommends that dengue-endemic countries continue educating the population and health workers on recognizing dengue symptoms and the warning signs of severe dengue.

It added that appropriate home care with adequate hydration and rest during the early stages can minimize the risk of the disease becoming severe.

The WHO also urges countries to train health professionals on the diagnosis and proper management of dengue and to prepare health centers and hospitals for effective response in case of outbreaks and influxes of patients.

WHO also encourages governments and communities to reduce the spread of dengue by informing the public of how to clean up mosquito breeding sites.

“With these measures, we can minimize the impact of dengue on people in our Region and save lives,” said Dr. Kasai.

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Cavite, several areas in Zamboanga Sibugay under state of calamity due to dengue

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Friday, July 19th, 2019

A child suffering from dengue fever receives medical treatment at an isolation ward of a government-run hospital in Manila, Philippines, 16 July 2019. (Photoville International)

Cavite and several areas in Zamboanga Sibugay are under a state of calamity due to the increasing number of dengue cases in the province.

Based on the data of the Department of Health (DOH), the number of dengue cases in Cavite went up to 3,605 from January to July 13 this year. This is higher than the 2,670 cases recorded in 2018.

Around 18 patients have already died due to the illness this year.

Meanwhile, dengue cases in the Zamboanga Peninsula also increased to 9,104 with over 30 deaths.

According to DOH IX, several areas in Cavite and in Zamboanga have already declared a state of calamity. These areas include Ipil, Kabasalan, Buug, and Diplahan.

DOH IX Infectious Cluster Dr. Mary Rose Bugtai said the local government will be able to use the calamity fund to address the dengue situation in their area.

“To address the current situation like the want to purchase more commodities for integrated vector management like our larvae site like our spray cans for misting and other commodities used for dengue outbreak,” she said.—AAC (with reports from Benedict Samson)

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Police, military hospitals on standby amid national dengue alert

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Thursday, July 18th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) has tapped the service of military hospitals amid following the declaration of national dengue alert.

According to DOH Spokesperson Eric Domingo, they have asked the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to be on standby in case the number of dengue cases increases beyond government hospitals’ capacity.

“Ang PNP at ang AFP natin may mga hospitals din naman sila and we have to network with them in case na talagang dumami ang pasyente (The PNP and the AFP also have hospitals and we have to network with them in case the number of patients increases),” Domingo said.

“Halimbawa may mga lugar na malayo sa amin tapos sila may hospital maari kaming makipagtulungan para ma- admit din ang mga pasyente sa mga hospitals nila (There are certain areas beyond our reach where military hospitals are located. We can ask for help to admit the patients there in their hospitals),” he added.

On Wednesday (July 17), Health Secretary Francisco Duque III met with the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) Health Cluster to discuss measures to curb the sudden rise of dengue infections in the country.

The DOH is in cooperation with other agencies like the Department of Education (DepEd), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) in implementing actions in schools to prevent dengue, in educating the public on the dangers of dengue infection, and in coordinating with the local government units in destroying potential breeding grounds of dengue-carrying mosquitoes in different areas in the country.

“Kailangan talaga sa schools maglinis tayo, ma- educate natin iyong children at iyong parents kung paano iyong dapat natin gawin to prevent itong dengue at tsaka meron tayong changes sa mga patakaran sa school, (We need to have regularly clean up drive in schools and we need to educate the children and the parents on what to do to prevent dengue. Also, we have changes in school regulations,)” the DOH Spokesperson said.

Likewise, among the agencies’ action plans include designation of additional hospital rooms for dengue patients through Philippine Red Cross and the construction of extra hospital tents which can be used for emergency.

Domingo stressed the need to always be alert in providing the medical needs of dengue patients in order to prevent further deaths caused by dengue infection this year.

The DOH advises households to dispose stagnant water and dirty containers where dengue mosquitoes may breed.

Install protections such as window and door screens.

Likewise, do not let your child play or come near areas where mosquitoes are breeding.

Maganda pa rin talaga naka- pantalon at long sleeves ang mga bata para hindi siya makakagat ng lamok (It is better to have your child wear long pants and long sleeves to prevent mosquito bites),” Domingo advised.

The DOH, as always, reminds the public to immediately bring the patient to the nearest hospital if symptoms of dengue manifest.

The agency can be reached through the DOH hotline numbers 711-1001 and 711-1002 for inquiry about dengue. — with reports from Aiko Miguel

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DILG orders LGUs to conduct clean up drive to contain dengue spread

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Wednesday, July 17th, 2019

The local government of Island Garden City of Samal Davao del Norte conducts mosquito fogging to combat the dengue outbreak on July 16, 2019 | Courtesy: Cerilo Ebrano/Photoville International

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Wednesday (July 17) directed local government units (LGU) to immediately undertake clean up drives to contain the spread of dengue.

“The alarming increase of dengue cases in several areas should prompt LGUs to act now and act fast in arresting the spread of dengue in their respective areas. We should not allow dengue to debilitate our communities,” DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said in a statement.

Año issued the statement days after Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III declared a “National Dengue Alert” amid spiking number of dengue cases in the country.

The DOH earlier reported it has identified regions with raised dengue alerts exceeding the epidemic threshold, namely MIMAROPA (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, and Palawan), Western Visayas (Region VI), Central Visayas (Region VII), and Northern Mindanao (Region X).

Meanwhile, the Ilocos region (Region I), Cagayan Valley (Region II), CALABARZON (Region IV-A), Bicol region (Region V), Eastern Visayas (Region VIII), Zamboanga Peninsula (Region IX), Davao region (Region XI), Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), and the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) are identified as regions that have exceeded the alert threshold.

READ: DOH declares dengue alert in several regions

The DILG chief urged the LGUs to coordinate with DOH representatives in identifying the breeding sites of dengue-carrying mosquitoes and learning the necessary steps to effectively eliminate mosquitoes.

READ: Dengue on the rise: How to protect your family against dengue virus

“We must increase our efforts in addressing the dengue infection especially during this rainy season when cases are expected to rise,” Año said.

He also called on local government officials to mobilize residents to participate in clean-up drives to eliminate breeding areas of dengue-carrying mosquitoes.

“Lahat tayo ay magtulong-tulong at kumilos na. Huwag nating iasa na lang sa gobyerno ang paglilinis at pagsisinop sa ating mga kapaligiran para maiwasan ang dengue,” he said.

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