“The situation is under control. We have vaccination programs all over, even in villages,” said Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo, who noted that the diseases were all preventable with immunization.
He added that Health Secretary Francisco Duque III was “doing everything he can” to address the recent health concerns.
The Palace statement came as the Health department said the average number of people diagnosed with HIV has risen to 35 per day this year, from 32 per day in 2018.
The HIV/AIDS and Anti-Retroviral Treatment Registry showed that there were 1,006 newly confirmed HIV-positive individuals reported to the Health department. Nineteen percent had manifestations of advanced HIV infection at the time of the diagnosis. There were 102 reported deaths among people with HIV.
As of June 2019, an overwhelming majority or 97 percent of the 38,903 people on anti-retroviral treatment were males, the Health department said.
The median age of those affected was 28 years old. More than half of the cases were 25-34 years old.
More than a third of the new confirmed cases or 346 were from Metro Manila.
The other regions with the most number of newly-diagnosed cases for June were Region 4A with 155 cases; Region 3, 114; Region 7, 78; and Region 6, 56.
Sexual contact remained the predominant mode of transmission at 983. Among the newly diagnosed, 589 reported transmission through male-to-male sex, 260 through sex with both males and females, and 134 were through male-to-female sex.
Other modes of transmission were sharing of infected needles, and mother-to-child transmission. Only 1 percent of the cases had no data on mode of transmission.
Among the newly diagnosed females in June, five were pregnant at the time of diagnosis, two cases each were from Metro Manila and Region 7 and one case was from Region 6.
The first case of HIV infection in the Philippines was reported in 1984. Since then, there have been 68,401 confirmed HIV cases reported to the DOH. Ninety-four percent or 64,114 of those diagnosed were male and 6 percent were female.
At the time of the diagnosis, more than half or 51,925 were 25-34 years old while 19,472 were younger, at 15-25.
In the early years of the epidemic in 1984 to 1990, 133 of the 216 cases were female. However, since 1991, the proportion of diagnosed males has been greater than that of the females each year.
From 1991 to present, males comprised 94 percent or 64,031 of the 68,174 diagnosed cases. In addition, from January 2018 to June 2019, 3 percent or 517 of the 16,861 diagnosed people who were male at birth reported their self-identity as female (transgender women).
The number of diagnosed HIV infections among females has also been increasing, with the number of diagnosed cases from January to June 2019 tripling from the diagnosed cases in the same period in 2014 or five years before.
The registry also showed that 61 Filipinos who worked overseas within the past five years, whether on land or at sea, were diagnosed in June 2019. They comprised 6 percent of the total newly diagnosed cases for the month.
On Thursday, the Health department confirmed that a 10-year-old student in Pandacan, Manila, had died of diphtheria, a highly communicable bacterial infection.
DOH Undersecretary Eric Domingo said the confirmation was based on the result of the test conducted at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine.
Domingo played down the danger, saying the department gets about 140 to 150 cases a year.
In 2018, they had recorded 207 cases.
“It’s not really significantly higher,” he said.
What is important is to immediately control it, Domingo said. If there’s one case, to make sure it does not spread, antibiotics must be given to all who come in regular contact with the patient.
Vaccination, he said, remains the most effective means to control diphtheria. The vaccine is given at 1.5 months or 10 to 14 weeks. Before a baby reaches four months, the vaccines should be complete.
He said another way to control the disease is early treatment and management of cases of exposure.
The primary symptoms of diphtheria, a serious and infectious bacterial infection, are sore throat and low fever.
If the diphtheria toxin is severe, there may be a buildup of dead tissues in the throat and tonsils, causing difficulties in breathing and swallowing.
Domingo, meanwhile, said no wild polio or naturally occurring polio has been seen in the country.
READ: PH polio-free no longer; virus reemerges; DOH warning out
The strain that has resurfaced after 19 years, he added was the “vaccine-derived” variety.
He said the virus may circulate from human waste of those that have been vaccinated, and get into the water.
“This would be capable again of causing disease in an unvaccinated individual,” he said.
He said the cycle may be broken by vaccinating everybody and improving sanitation.
An intensified anti-polio vaccination kicked off in Manila a few days after Duque declared an outbreak last month.
READ: Half of Manila kids under 5 got polio vaccine
So far, there have been only two confirmed cases of polio, one in Lanao del Sur and the other in Calamba, Laguna.
In Region 12, the DOH is monitoring the condition of a 3-month-old boy who is suspected to have been infected by the poliovirus.
“We are still waiting for the result of the stool specimen of the child that was sent to our DOH headquarters in Manila,” said Jenny Panizales-Ventura of DOH-12, referring to the child currently quarantined for almost a week at the Cotabato Regional and Medical Center.
Ventura said the child manifested paralysis in his right leg, prompting local health officials to confine him at the CRMC.
“Again, this remains a suspected case. We have to wait for the result anytime this week from the DOH’s Research Institute for Tropical Medicine-Surveillance and Response Unit in Manila,” Ventura said. With PNAREAD: National polio vaccination drive kicks off in Manila
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