THE number of dengue cases at the start of 2018 is 41.38 percent lower compared to the same period in 2017, according to the Department of Health.
The DoH Epidemiology Bureau said that it recorded 10,980 new dengue cases from January to February 10, with most of the victims from 10 to 14 years old.
This is 41.38 percent lower compared to the 18,731 cases that were tallied in 2017.
The DoH report was released as the Philippines continued to reel from the controversy over the administration of Dengvaxia to more than 800,000 children in 2016.
Sanofi Pasteur, manufacturer of the anti-dengue vaccine, belatedly disclosed that recipients of Dengvaxia who are first-time dengue victims are high-risk patients as they are most likely to develop a severe form of the mosquito-borne disease.
Based on the DoH January-February 2018 report, most of the victims came from Calabarzon, 22.80 percent; Central Luzon with 17.89 percent; Metro Manila with 16.58 percent; Ilocos Region with 7.25 percent; and Central Visayas with 5.52 percent.
The highest incidence of dengue was recorded in Cavite with 10 percent; Pampanga with 6.6 percent; Pangasinan with 5.88 percent; and Laguna with 4.66 percent.
The victims were from less than one-month-old to 99 years old. More than 50 percent who were afflicted were males from 10 to 14 years old.
Fifty-one deaths were reported, with most of the victims coming from the 0 to 4-year-old age group.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque 3rd said that while there was a lower number this year, the areas with a high incidence of cases were still the same.
“It’s variable. We really cannot say. In fact, there are more cases recorded in areas [whose residents]were vaccinated. Those are [Regions] 3, 4-A, NCR and 7. Those with a high number of cases in the past is still high now,” Duque said.
Region 3 is Central Luzon, Region 4-A, Calabarzon; NCR, the National Capital Region or Metro Manila; Region 7, Central Visayas.
He said the high incidence in these areas may be attributed to the sheer number of their populations.
“You know, numbers are a tricky business. [About] 837,000 is a huge number by itself. But 837,000 over the total population of NCR, Region 3, 4-A, Cebu that’s probably, 40-50 million,” he said.
Dengue is an acute viral infection transmitted through the Aedes aegypti mosquito and may result in death if left untreated. KENNETH HERNANDEZ