The Philippines announced a national dengue epidemic on Tuesday as mosquito-related deaths hit 622 this year, health officials said.
Authorities have registered more than 146,000 dengue cases from January to July 20 this year, or a 98 percent jump over the same period last year, said Health Minister Francisco Duke III.
"It is important that a national epidemic is announced in these areas to determine where a localized response is needed and to allow local government units to use their rapid response fund to deal with the epidemic," Duke said. cites provinces with thousands of recorded cases.
Dengue fever and hemorrhagic dengue fever are acute viral infections that are known to affect babies, young children and adults. It is transmitted by the mosquito bite Aedes aegypti infected with any of the four strains of dengue.
Last week, Chris Stynes, head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), called for urgent action to tackle deadly dengue, adding that the country is experiencing an alarming number of cases.
"We need to work together to save lives and control the outbreak we fear will deteriorate during the monsoon rains," Stines said.
"Money can be stopped in its tracks, but families should protect themselves from mosquito bites and seek medical treatment if they have symptoms such as fever, headache, nausea and joint pain," he said.
Warning signs of severe dengue occur three to seven days after the onset of the first symptoms and include severe abdominal pain, persistent vomiting, bleeding gums, fatigue, restlessness, and vomiting blood. Proper medical care is needed to avoid complications and the risk of death, health officials said.
In its report of July 25, the World Health Organization cites that the dengue case is expected to increase significantly due to the delayed rainy season caused by the weak El Nino season.
"The risk of a dengue outbreak in the Philippines from spreading to other countries in the region is low, although some cases are expected to travel to the Philippines, but this is likely to be limited," the WHO report said.
He noted that Dengvaxia, produced by the French company Sanofi Pasteur, is the only dengue vaccine licensed worldwide, but it has been banned in the Philippines since December 2017. At least 14 Filipino children have died from more than 800,000 inoculated between 2016 and 2017, Philippines health officials said.
The vaccine was administered to tens of thousands of school children in Southeast Asia, but was discontinued after the company said it was causing severe infections among those who had been vaccinated but had not previously contracted the disease. However, Sanofi's regional director told a congressional group of the Philippines in 2018 that the drug is safe for public use.
The WHO said heavy dengue was recognized in the 1950s during epidemics in the Philippines and Thailand. The Philippine government announced the initial "dengue signal" in July.
Earlier this year, the government blamed measles cases for its immunization program, which failed as a result of the dengue vaccine in late 2017.
Following a call by health doctors to lift the ban on Dengwaxia, President Spokesman Salvador Panelo said the government was open to re-authorize the vaccine on the recommendation of experts.
"This has to be discussed in depth and in depth. We need experts to support any call for the return of Dengwaxia, "said Panelo in response to a proposal by Iloilo Rep. Janet Garin, a former health secretary, to make the vaccine available to the public again.
"We are always open to anything that will benefit the Filipino people," Panelo said. "We are not closed to any proposal."
Jeffrey Mayte in Cotabato City contributed to this report.