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Surge in Dengue Cases

The Philippines is facing a surge in dengue cases, with over 100,000 dengue cases reported by the Department of Health (DOH) from 1 January to 29 June 2019, an 85 per cent increase in cases from the same period last year, with more than 450 deaths reported.

On 15 July, the Department of Health declared a National Dengue Alert, urging regional DOH offices to step up surveillance, case management and outbreak response in health facilities and hospitals, as well community and school-based health education campaigns, clean-up drives, and logistics support for dengue control. While there are many reasons for the increase in the Philippines, WHO cites that drought and water shortages related to the onset of El Niño has led people to collect water in containers and an increase in mosquito breeding places.

Regions which have exceeded the epidemic threshold, which is the critical number required for an epidemic to occur, are CALABARZON, Bicol Region, Western Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, and Northern Mindanao. Other affected regions are the Cordillera Administrative Region, Eastern Visayas, the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) and Metro Manila (NCR). The provinces of Iloilo, Capiz, Aklan Antique and Guimaras in the Western Visayas region declared an outbreak, with many municipalities seeking a state of calamity to access emergency funding to mobilise additional resources. WHO is supporting the DOH with epidemiological analysis and rapid risk assessments, preparing targeted risk communication messages for health workers and communities to ensure early detection. In 2017, the Philippines Food and Drug Administration (FDA) suspended the license of the dengue vaccine Dengvaxia following a controversy regarding a pilot vaccination campaign. In 2019, the FDA announced that it permanently revoked the license to distribute Dengvaxia in the Philippines.



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