The Philippine government has declared a “national dengue epidemic” following a sharp increase in deaths caused by this virus in the country: since the beginning of the year at least 622 people have lost their lives and on 20 July they were registered at least 146,000 cases, 98% more than in the same period last year. In July, Manila declared a “national alert” against the spread of the virus.

Dengue fever causes flu-like symptoms, including penetrating headaches, muscle and joint pain, fever and rashes all over the body. Of the millions of people infected with dengue every year around the world, around 500,000 develop severe symptoms that require hospitalization.

The Department of Health (DOH) has declared today a national dengue epidemic while cases of mosquito-borne disease continue to increase. DOH data showed that Western Visayas had the most cases. According to DOH, from July 14-20, the authorities registered 10.502 cases of dengue in 14 regions nationally 71% more than the data collected in the same period in 2018.

Two years ago the Philippine government suspended the immunization program among school students following revelations that the Dengvaxia vaccine against dengue did not provide a protective benefit in those who previously had dengue, revelations that came after only 733,000 children had been immunized; about 32 million young Filipinos are under 14 years old.

DOH, along with other government agencies, the LGUs (local government units), schools and municipalities, is already active in eradicating dengue, focusing on research and destruction at mosquito breeding sites. But many said that DOH and Government should have started the campaign, against this mosquitoes, much earlier.