The rainy season is here and with it, mosquitoes that carry the dengue virus.
Since June is Dengue Awareness Month, the Department of Health (DOH) warned the public to be on the lookout for the pesky dengue-carrying mosquitoes.
In its disease surveillance report, the Department of Health (DOH) said there were 23,867 dengue cases nationwide from January 1 to May 31, 2014. This is 50.98 percent lower compared to the same period last year with a total of 48,686 cases.
Dengue fever is caused by one of four viruses that are carried by day-biting mosquitoes, specifically the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes. Infected mosquitoes spread the virus from one person to another. This is common in tropical countries like the Philippines.
The DOH, in partnership with Sanofi Pasteur, said a dengue vaccine would be available in 2016.
“We will provide the DOH with the vaccine,” said Guillaume Leroy, Sanofi Pasteur vice president.
In a press conference on Sunday in Clark, Pampanga, Sanofi Pasteur regional office head Dr. Joselito Sta. Ana said the vaccine is 56.5 percent safe and would be introduced in the next two years.
Since dengue prevention is currently limited to mosquito control measures, the World Health Organization said a dengue vaccine would represent a major advance in the control of the disease.
In mild cases, dengue is characterized by a high fever that may last for 2 to 7 days, headaches, widespread rash, muscle and joint pain, and minor bleeding from the gums or nose. These symptoms usually disappear in a week.
If not, the symptoms worsen. In the severe form of dengue fever called dengue hemorrhagic fever, blood vessels are damaged and there is bleeding from the nose and mouth, bleeding under the skin and persistent vomiting. The lungs, liver or heart may be damaged, leading to death.
The DOH warned against giving aspirin for fever in suspected dengue patients.
To prevent dengue fever, the DOH said it’s best to limit the breeding ground of mosquitoes. Cover water drums and pails, replace water in flower vases once a week, clean gutters of leaves and debris, collect and dispose of all unusable tin cans, jars, bottles and other items that can collect and hold water.
To avoid being bitten by mosquitoes, wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts, and use an effective mosquito repellant every day.
Fogging is advised in cases of an impending dengue outbreak.