DOH declares national dengue epidemic

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 6)— The Health Department on Tuesday declared a “national dengue epidemic” following the rapid spike in dengue cases in several regions of the country.

At least 146,000 cases, including 622 deaths, have been recorded from January to July 20, according to the department’s latest data. The number is 98 percent higher than the same period last year.

Western Visayas region registered the most number of dengue cases in the country at 23,330. This was followed by CALABARZON with16,515 cases.

Zamboanga Peninsula listed 12,317 cases, while Northern Mindanao and SOCCKSARGEN had 11,455 and 11,083 cases, respectively.

Health officials said the epidemic was declared for authorities to identify areas where localized response would be needed.

Health officials, together with other government agencies and local government units, said they will conduct a program that would focus on searching and destroying dengue mosquito breeding sites around the country.

The spike in dengue cases and deaths earlier prompted the Health Department to declare a “national dengue alert,” the first of its kind in the country, in July.

The province of Samar was latest to declare a state of calamity due to the dengue outbreak. The provinces of Leyte, Eastern Samar, and Zamboanga Sibugay, as well as Samal in Davao del Norte have also raised the alert in their respective areas.

Dengue is a viral disease with no known vaccine, but it is preventable through early detection. Signs and symptoms include severe headache, pain behind the eyes, severe joint and muscle pain, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and skin rashes.

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CNN Philippines' Alyssa Rola and Crissy Dimatulac contributed to this report.