The number of dengue cases nationwide breached the 10,000 a week threshold as more than 12,000 cases were reported based on the latest surveillance report of the Department of Health-Epidemiology Bureau.
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Epidemiology Bureau Director Ferchito Avelino said a total of 12,880 dengue cases were reported from July 21 to 27, a 70 percent increase over the 7,542 cases in the same period last year.
Thirty-nine deaths from dengue were also reported in the same period, which brought to 661 the number of persons who succumbed to dengue from Jan. 1 to July 27.
Health Secretary Franciso Duque said there were 146,062 cases recorded from Jan. 1 up to July 20 this year, prompting him to declare a national epidemic.
With the new cases, Avelino said the cumulative number of dengue cases from Jan. 1 to July 27 was pegged at 167,606.
In an earlier interview in the Senate, Avelino said they are bracing for a spike in the number of dengue cases by October as thousands of mosquitoes’ eggs would be hatched and they would start biting.
He said eggs of dengue-carrying mosquitoes were being hatched four times in a month.
To stave off this problem, he said it was important to get rid of all breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
“There is a cycle for dengue- every three year is a dengue year in the Philippines. And we are in our dengue year so we need to eliminate all places were mosquitoes will lay and breed their eggs,” Avelino said.
The latest surveillance report from the DOH EB also showed that Region I and the National Capital Region are on alert thresholds.
Meanwhile, Senator Richard Gordon warned of more deaths from dengue if the government doesn’t provide immediate help to children injected who were injected with the vaccine Dengvaxia despite being “seronegative”—meaning they had never been exposed to dengue before.
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The former director of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp., Anthony Leachon, said there is no rapid diagnostic test to determine seronegative or seropositive status of each patient, making it risky to administer the Dengvaxia vaccine.
The government banned the sale of Dengvaxia in December 2017 after its manufacturer, Sanofi of France announced that the drug could bring about more serious symptoms for those who have had no exposure to dengue.
No available tests have been cleared by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to determine a previous dengue infection, Leachon added.
Gordon said it was crucial to monitor Dengvaxia-vaccinated children, especially those that had never been in contact with dengue before.
“We need to have a strong surveillance system for vaccinated children so that we can immediately send them to hospitals for immediate and proper treatment. We should protect these children from a more serious case,” Gordon said.
Health officials warned last week that the dengue epidemic will peak in October with an estimated 10,000 cases a week, even as local government units fail to stem the tide of infection and deaths, which have now topped 600, most of them children.
Interviewed at the sidelines of a Senate briefing, DOH Epidemiology Bureau Chief Dr. Ferchito Avelino said that at present, the department has recorded only half of the expected cases for the year.
“By October, we are expecting a peak in the dengue cases,” he said, as dengue-carrying mosquitoes will start biting. With PNA
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