Philippine authorities declare national dengue alert after 456 deaths

Health authorities in the Philippines have also recorded 106,630 cases of dengue infection in the first six months of the year, 85 per cent higher than the same period last year. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

MANILA (DPA) - Philippine health authorities on Monday (July 15) raised the alert for dengue in the country following a sharp increase in the number of cases of the illness, which has killed 456 nationwide in the first half of the year.

The number of patients who died from dengue in January to June this year was up 39 per cent from 278 in the same period in 2018, according to data from the Department of Health.

The department has also recorded a total of 106,630 cases of dengue infection nationwide in the first six months of the year, 85 per cent higher than the 57,564 cases in the same period last year.

Due to the increase, the department declared a "national dengue alert", directing regional offices to step up surveillance of dengue cases and heightened implementation of strategies to combat the disease.

"This is the first time we're declaring a national alert because the objective is very clear - we want to raise awareness among the public and more importantly in communities where signs of early dengue increase are evident," Health Secretary Francisco Duque said.

Mr Duque stressed the need for the public to also seek medical attention as soon as symptoms manifest, such as fever for more than two days, severe joint and muscle pain, fatigue, nausea, skin rashes and bleeding.

"Usually (patients) are brought to the hospitals rather late," he said. "(When there is) haemorrhage, internal bleeding, the heart is affected, the other organs are similarly affected. Early detection is so crucial."

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