Philippines government sounds national alert after steep rise in deaths from dengue

18-Jul-2019 Intellasia | The Telegraph | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Health authorities in the Philippines have declared a “national dengue alert” after an alarming upsurge in cases of the viral mosquito-borne disease that has left more than 450 people dead since January.

Francisco Duque III, the health secretary, said that 106,630 dengue cases had been reported between January and the end of June an 85 per cent increase on the 57,564 cases reported from the same period last year.

Dengue epidemics have been declared in four central and southern regions of the country, which between them are home to roughly 20 per cent of the Southeast Asian nation’s population some 20 million people.

According to CNN Philippines, health officials are monitoring the situation in nine other regions, including Davao, the home province of Rodrigo Duterte, the Philippine president.

A government worker uses a fumigation device to get rid of mosquitoes (The Telegraph)

A government worker uses a fumigation device to get rid of mosquitoes (The Telegraph)

The authorities have said dengue remains “localised” and is not a national epidemic. Alert thresholds vary from region to region as calculations take into account localised incidences of the disease within the last three to five years, but serve as an early warning system for the country.

The viral infection is contracted through the bite of Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes carrying the dengue virus.

It causes flu-like symptoms, including a fever, piercing headaches, muscle and joint pains and body rashes.

About half the world’s population is at risk from the tropical disease and the spread of the mosquito and increasing urbanisation means that number is set to grow. An estimated 284-528 million people are infected every year, and of these about 500,000 require hospitalisation and 2.5 per cent die, according to the World Health Organization.

The infection is still most common in tropical and sub-tropical climates like the Philippines, India and Brazil but fears are growing that climate change will move mosquitoes carrying dengue and other diseases like yellow fever and Zika, further northwards.

The Philippines, which has one of the highest dengue fatality rates in the world, typically sees a spike in cases every three to five years and there is no fully developed vaccine to prevent it.

In 2016, following a spike in the number of cases, the Philippines became one of the first countries to launch a mass vaccination of children with Dengvaxia, made by the French drugs giant Sanofi.

However, in November 2017, Sanofi released new data which showed that the vaccinewhile protecting children who had previously been exposed to the virusincreased the long-term risk of hospitalisation in those who had not.

By this point, the vaccination had been given to more than 800,000 schoolchildren.

The suspension of the programme and subsequent political scandal caused trust in vaccinations to dramatically drop across the island nation, a study for the Vaccine Confidence Index found last year.

Public mistrust vaccines has been blamed for a deadly outbreak of measles this year which has so far killed more people than in the whole of 2018 and which has put 2.6 million children at risk.

https://sg.news.yahoo.com/philippines-government-sounds-national-alert-163004556.html

 


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