By Business Mirror, July 16 2019

Image Credit to CNN Philippines

HEALTH Secretary Francisco T. Duque III on Monday declared a National Dengue Alert, citing the rapidly increasing number of cases observed in several regions.

Duque listed among the regions which have exceeded the epidemic threshold Mimaropa (Region 4B), Western Visayas (Region 6), Central Visayas (Region 7) and Northern Mindanao (Region 10). The health chief disclosed that clustering of cases must be identified by the Deparment of Health (DOH) regional office as a basis for declaring a localized epidemic at the barangay level.

Meanwhile, the following regions are being monitored after having exceeded the alert threshold—Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Calabarzon, Bicol, Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Davao, Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and Cordillera Administrative Region.

In coordination with the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, through Undersecretary Ricardo Jalad of the Office of Civil Defense, the code blue alert has been activated. DOH as lead agency will be convening the NDRRMC Health Cluster.

From January 1 to June 29 this year, most cases listed were from Western Visayas (13,164), Calabarzon (11,474), Central Visayas (9,199), Soccsksargen (9,107) and Northern Mindanao (8,739). Dengue cases nationwide have now reached a cumulative figure of 106,630. This is 85 percent higher compared to the same period last year (57,564).

Peaking cycle

Duque explained that dengue cases have been observed to peak every  three to four  years. He added that early detection and proper case management can prevent deaths. The last peak occurred in 2016, and given this pattern, the DOH expects an increase in cases this year.

Dengue is a viral disease with no known vaccine or specific antibiotics. Effective surveillance can also help in reducing cases and deaths if areas with clustering of cases are identified early.

Signs and symptoms of disease are severe headache, pain behind the eyes, severe joint and muscle pain, fatigue, nausea, vomiting and skin rashes.