DOH: 2019 to be a 'big dengue year'

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Health officials are bracing for an influx of dengue cases this year after recording more than 180 deaths from the disease in the first quarter of 2019 alone. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 3) — Health officials are bracing for an influx of dengue cases this year after recording more than 180 deaths from the disease in the first quarter of 2019 alone.

The Department of Health (DOH) reported that there have already been 48,634 cases of dengue in the first quarter of 2019 causing 184 deaths. This is a significant jump from last year's figures showing 23,328 cases that resulted to 150 deaths has the highest number of cases this year with 4,855, followed by Calabarzon with 4,815 cases and Caraga region with 4,570 cases.

Region VII has the highest number of cases this year with 5,421 followed by Metro Manila with 4,855 cases and Calabarzon with 4,851 cases.

Caraga region recorded 4,570 cases of the disease this year while Region III reported 4,009 cases.

However, DOH said the numbers were expected.

"We're preparing because we're expecting 2019 to be a big dengue year. The way dengue kasi behaves is that you get one or two years na low cases and on the third year tumataas [it rises]," Health Undersecretary Enrique Domingo told CNN Philippines.

Dengue prevention

Domingo said the number of dengue cases may peak during the rainy season in June but the public should not be complacent in the summer since mosquitoes attack during daytime.

"'Yung dengue mosquito kasi bites during the day so usually mga dawn hanggang an hour or two after sunset, so during the day syempre nakakatakot pa rin dengue sa mga bata and then the very old, so protect our children," he explained.

[Translation: The dengue mosquito bites during the day so usually around dawn until an hour or two after sunset so during the day it is still unsafe for children and the very old, so protect our children.]

Those who have been vaccinated with dengvaxia are also susceptible to the disease, Domingo added.

"'Yung mga nabakunahan dati, we tell them huwag na nating hintayin na grabe yung nararamdaman ng mga bata, basta may lagnat — isa /dalawang araw, may masakit ang tyan, masakit ang ulo, masakit ang mata dalhin na agad sa hospitals natin," he urged.

[Translation: Those who have been vaccinated before, we tell them not to wait for the condition of the child to worsen. As long as they have fever for one or two days, stomach pain, headache, and pain in the eyes, bring them immediately to our hospitals.]

Symptoms of dengue include the sudden onset of high fever which may last from two to seven day, joint and muscle pain, pain behind the eyes, weakness, skin rashes, nose bleeding when fever starts to subside, abdominal pain, vomiting of coffee-colored matter, dark-colored stool, and difficulty of breathing.

Domingo warned that mosquitoes are known to breed in stagnant waters, such as those in clogged rain gutters, sewers and discarded tires. The DOH urged the public to keep their surroundings clean.

CNN Philippines' Correspondent Triciah Terada and Digital Producer Janine Peralta contributed to this report