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Dengue epidemic hits 3 more regions

Three more regions have breached the dengue epidemic threshold, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said on Sunday, bringing the total to 10 regions since the government declared a national outbreak.

In an interview on dzBB, Duque said the three regions are Region 7 (Central Visayas) and Region 12 ( South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and General Santos or Soccksargen) and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

The seven other regions which initially breached the epidemic threshold are Region 4-A, Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon), Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan), and Regions 5 (Bicol), 6 (Western Visayas), 8 (Eastern Visayas, 9 (Zamboanga Peninsula) and 10 (Northern Mindanao).

The World Health Organization said the epidemic threshold is the critical number or density of susceptible hosts required for an epidemic to occur.

The epidemic threshold is used to confirm the emergence of an epidemic so as to step-up appropriate control measures.

On Tuesday, the Department of Health declared a national dengue epidemic due to the spike in recorded cases, at 146,062 from Jan. 1 to July 20.

But in just a week, as of July 27, dengue cases grew further to 167,607 cases.

“This is 96 percent higher than fhe 85,011 dengue cases in 2018,” Duque added.

He said the dengue situation in other ASEAN countries like in Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore are actually worse where the dengue cases skyrocketed three times.

Duque said that every three to four years, a spike in dengue cases is expected, according to WHO. However, the reason behind this phenomenon has not yet been established.

Meanwhile, relatives of children who had died after they were given the Dengvaxia vaccine said they welcomed the decision by Congress to conduct its own investigation into the deaths.

The families said the House committee on good government and accountability and committee on health’s June 4 report recommended further investigation for the filing of criminal, civil and administrative charges against former President Benigno Aquino III and his former Cabinet officials over their P3.5-billion purchase of the anti-dengue vaccine.

Both House committees also urged the Anti-Money Laundering Council to investigate former and incumbent government officials and employees involved in the Dengvaxia vaccine procurement.

Sunachen Dominguez, spokesperson and leader of Justice for Dengvaxia Victims Movement, along with at least over 40 parents filed multiple counts of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide against Aquino, former Health Secretary Jannette Garin, Duque and the others.

Amid calls to make the vaccine available to the public again, Senator Christopher Go said doing so would be “useless.”

“It is hard and useless. Nobody believes anymore that Dengvaxia is effective and can minimize dengue cases,” he said.

He urged hospitals nationwide to put up “Dengue express lanes” to give immediate medical attention to suspected dengue patients following a national dengue epidemic declaration.

He said patients afflicted with the mosquito-borne disease should be speedily provided medical treatment.

He raised concern over the increasing number of dengue cases, which has spiked to 98 percent from January to July 20 compared to the same period last year.

Health officials have warned that if the public will be lax in fighting the dengue-carrying mosquitoes by eliminating their breeding grounds, the 10,000-weekly increase in dengue cases will continue and reach its peak in October.

READ: Councilor eyes weekends for anti-dengue cleanup

READ: ‘Not enough being done vs. dengue’

READ: DOH: Dengue epidemic of staggering proportions

Topics: Francisco Duque III , Department of Health , Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao , Christopher Go , Dengvaxia
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