The Department of Health (DoH) has declared a national dengue epidemic amid the soaring cases of dengue nationwide that have claimed at least 622 lives.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque 3rd, however, did not recommend the use of Dengvaxia, the only vaccine available for the mosquito-borne disease.
Duque said the Health department recorded 146,062 cases of dengue from January to July 20 this year, 98 percent higher than the cases listed in the same period last year.
Based on the DoH’s Dengue Surveillance Report, Western Visayas had the most number of cases — 23,330. It was followed by Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) with 16,515 cases; Zamboanga Peninsula with 12,317; Northern Mindanao, 11,455; and Soccsksargen (South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and General Santos City), 11,083.
Other areas that exceeded the alert threshold include Ilocos Region that listed 4,396 cases, Central Visayas with 10,728 and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao with 2,301.
“It is important that a national epidemic be declared to identify where a localized response is needed and to enable the local government units to use the Quick Response Fund to address the epidemic situation,” Duque said following a meeting with the National Disaster Risk
Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) led by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.
Lorenzana said he signed a memorandum circular directing all member agencies of the NDRRMC to support the nationwide dengue epidemic response “to stop this epidemic or eliminate this once and for all.”
The Health department also on Tuesday launched its “search and destroy” campaign to prevent the spread of dengue.
“Starting today, the DoH, together with other government agencies, the LGUs (local government units), schools, offices and communities will conduct the ‘Sabayang 4 o’clock habit,’ focusing on destroying mosquito breeding sites,” Duque said in a new briefing.
“I would like to urge the public to follow what we have done. We don’t have medicine, we don’t have vaccination, so this is the only way we can prevent the spread of dengue, and we hope that could also decrease the number of cases we have recorded,” Duque said.
In July, the DoH for the first time declared a national dengue alert to further raise public awareness on the disease.