File: A dengue ward in the Eastern Samar Provincial Hospital in Borongan City overflow with dengue patients and their families. The provincial board of Eastern Samar recently declared the province under a state of calamity due to the rising number of dengue cases. Image Credit: PHILIPPINE INFORMATION AGENCY

Manila: Metro Manila could be facing a dengue epidemic and officials are rushing steps to forestall such a possibility.

According to the Department of Health (DOH) some 11,123 cases of the mosquito-borne illness were recorded in the 17 cities and municipalities that comprise Metro Manila as of August 10. Quezon City has the most number of cases with the Greater Fairview district reporting 160 dengue patients on August 3 according to a television report by GMA News.

While Quezon City has around 3,000 cases of dengue, Mayor Joy Belmonte said that the city had noted a 22 per cent drop in the number compared to the same period last year, which was 4,000.

After Quezon City, Manila followed with the most number of cases at 1,062. Caloocan with 942; Paranaque, 828; Malabon, 504; Valenzuela City, 487; Taguig, 463; Pasig, 419; Makati, 417 and Mandaluyong City, 385.

According to DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III, Metro Manila may face a dengue epidemic as the number of cases has surpassed the alert level threshold.

In a bid to arrest the rising number of cases in Metro Manila, the DOH launched the metro-wide Synchronised Dengue Clean-up Drive encouraging residents to clean up their surroundings of stagnant water every 4pm to get rid of mosquito breeding areas.

Dengue is spread by the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes.

720 deaths

Across the country, the DOH reported that between January 1 and July 27 there were 167,607 dengue cases, including 720 deaths. This figure is 97 per cent higher than last year.

On August 6, the Philippines declared a “national epidemic” of dengue amid rising cases of the illness in various parts of the country.

Aside from Metro Manila, among the regions under watch for possible epidemics are Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bangsamoro Autonomous Region, Bicol, Western Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao and Soccsksargen.

The World Health Organisation said dengue is the fastest spreading vector-borne disease in the world. It is endemic in 100 countries.

Dengue has a gestation period of one to seven days and its symptoms include fever, abdominal pain, persistent vomiting, bleeding in the mouth or nose, restlessness, liver enlargement, and decreasing blood platelet count.

If not addressed, severe plasma leakage could leading to shock and severe bleeding that could be fatal.

Dr Chito Avelino, head of the DOH Epidemiology Bureau, said that dengue is a viral disease where the susceptibility of a person is dependent his or her immune system’s ability to resist the illness.

“In person with a strong immune system, even if you do not provide them with little medicine, they will naturally be cured as long as they are properly hydrated,” he said, adding that what patients should watch out for are complications.