MANILA, Philippines — Dengue-related deaths have gone up to 622 from January to July this year in the Philippines, prompting the Department of Health (DOH) to declare a national dengue epidemic.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III cited 622 deaths and 146,062 cases recorded from January to July 20 this year, — a 98 per cent spike compared to the number of cases recorded in the same period last year.
Duque said the agency made the declaration to improve the response to the outbreak by allowing local governments to draw on a special "Quick Response Fund".
622number of deaths from dengue in the Philippines from January to July 20, 2019
Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral infection found in tropical countries worldwide. It can cause joint pain, nausea, vomiting and a rash, and can cause breathing problems, hemorrhaging and organ failure in severe cases. While there is no specific treatment for the illness, medical care to maintain a person's fluid levels is seen as critical.
The Department of Health said that starting Tuesday, it was conducting a campaign to focus on finding and destroying mosquito breeding sites, which is a primary means of containing dengue.
Other government agencies, local government units, schools, offices and communities will join in the effort, it said.
Other Southeast Asian countries have also reported an surge in dengue cases this year, according to the U.N.'s World Health Organization.
While there is no specific treatment for the illness, medical care to maintain a person's fluid levels is seen as critical.
The organization said Malaysia had registered 62,421 cases through June 29, including 93 deaths, compared to 32,425 cases with 53 deaths for the same period last year.
93number of dengue-related deaths from 62,421 cases in Malaysia, recorded from January to June this year
Vietnam over the same period had 81,132 cases with four deaths reported, compared to 26,201 cases including six deaths in 2018.
4number of dengue-related deaths from 81,132 cases in Vietnam, recorded from January to June
In South Asia, Bangladesh has been facing its worst-ever dengue fever outbreak, putting a severe strain on the country's already overwhelmed medical system.