WHO warns: Dengue to likely increase in rainy season; calls for action
Maris Federez • June 13, 2019 • 2604
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.
MANILA, Philippines — The World Health Organization (WHO) reminds parents to look after little children especially given that the cold season is here.
In line with the World Pneumonia Day on November 13, the WHO reminds the public that pneumonia is preventable with the right knowledge on how to avoid contracting the disease especially during the cold months.
These preventive measures include:
Reducing indoor air pollution
Avoiding exposure of children to tobacco smoke
Practicing good hygiene
Pneumonia is a form of acute respiratory infection that affects the lungs.
According to the WHO, pneumonia is the single largest infectious cause of death in children worldwide
It accounts for 15% of all deaths of children under 5 years old in 2017 killing a total of 808, 694 children.
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) said there are no clear expert studies yet on the supposed recorded case in Spain of dengue transmission through sexual intercourse.
Based on a report, a male tested positive of dengue after having sexual intercourse with his partner who has dengue.
The health department said it was an isolated case.
“E kasi ito naman hindi siya the usual, this is very atypical. So, the chances of its spreading via that route are very low,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said.
Sec. Duque said the DOH is rather concerned over unprotected sex which causes an increase in the number of HIV-AIDS cases in the country.
He added that the alleged transmission of dengue virus through sexual intercourse will remain theoretical or mere speculation.
He underscored that the Philippines has yet to record a similar case of dengue transmission.
The department, he said, is pushing for safe sex and clean living, especially this year when the country is recording an average of 35 individuals who are HIV positive daily.
“I will not be worried that there can be an epidemic of dengue via that route because there already is with mosquitoes. So, I would be worried for lack of protection primarily because we don’t want anymore HIV-AIDS cases as much as possible. So incidental lang iyong isa e to the main issue of unprotected sex. It’s a (very) collateral issue,” Duque said. (from the report of Aiko Miguel) /mbmf
The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) wants to look into research-based technologies to address the dengue problem in the country.
DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña said the department has funded several research projects and programs to aid in addressing the different aspects of the disease.
“Through the DOST-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development, we have funded a number of research projects and programs consistent with the multi-prong approach in the control of dengue that address different aspects such as diagnosis and treatment,” he said.
One of the researches supported by the DOST is the Biotek M which is a rapid diagnostic test for dengue. This kit can diagnose dengue as early as two to three days after the onset of illness.
They are also looking into a possible herbal medicine for dengue.
“Dengue research and development has always been one of the priority research areas in the country. This is stated in the Harmonized National Research and Development Agenda led by the DOST,” said Sec. de la Peña.—AAC
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