Dengue death toll climbs to 1,021 in August

MANILA, Philippines – A total of 1,021 people died due to dengue from January 1 to August 24, 2019, according to the latest data from the Department of Health (DOH). 

During the 8-month period, the DOH recorded 249,332 cases – more than twice the number of cases from the same period in 2018. The Philippines also has the highest dengue fatality rate in Southeast Asia at 0.4%.

The latest figure is close to breaching the DOH’s projection of around 260,000 for the entire year, prompting the agency to adjust its estimates. For the week of August 18 to 24 alone, 13,912 new cases were recorded. This is almost 5,000 cases more than the number recorded during the same period in 2018. 

Western Visayas is still the most dengue-stricken region with a total of 42,694 cases and 186 deaths since January. This is followed by Calabarzon with 35,136 cases and 112 deaths; Northern Mindanao, 18,799 cases and 69 deaths; Zamboanga Peninsula, 17,529 cases and 93 deaths; and Eastern Visayas, 17,107 cases and 52 deaths. 

The National Capital Region also breached the epidemic threshold, with a total of 15,819 cases and 79 deaths since the start of the year. The capital region had been on alert threshold when the national dengue epidemic was declared on August 6. 

The national epidemic was raised for the national government and local government units (LGUs) to “level up the response” against the mosquito-borne disease. 

Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo said on Tuesday, September 10, that much more needed to be done in terms of LGU response. He reiterated the importance of the 4S strategy, which consists of the following:

The most affected age group is 5- to 9-year-olds, accounting for a total of 56,550 cases and 23 deaths. This is followed by 10- to 14-year-olds with 49,040 cases and 20 deaths. This is why the DOH reminds parents to be vigilant of their children’s condition, and immediately seek medical help in the face of recurring fever. 

Symptoms of dengue include sudden onset of fever for 2 to 7 days, along with at least two of the following: headache, body weakness, joint and muscle pains, pain behind the eyes, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, and rashes. —