The Philippines remains the most difficult hit of Asean member states reporting outbreaks of the debilitating and often fatal mosquito-borne dengue this year, with more than 720 deaths and an additional 167,000 people infected between January 1 and July 27.
Philippine Secretary of Health Francisco Duque III told reporters yesterday (Aug 13) that the death toll recorded gave the country the alarming title of having the region's highest fatality rate. In the seven days between July 21 and 27, he said, there were 12,880 new cases of dengue.
Health authorities in the Philippines declared a national flu epidemic on August 6, as the number of new cases continued to set new records.
The statement enabled local government units (LGUs) to access special rapid response funds as the number of new patients quickly overwhelmed a medical system already struggling to cope with a galloping epidemic of ruse. More than 35,000 rash cases were reported in the Philippines this year with nearly 500 deaths recorded.
According to the Department of Health (DOH) Western Visas has recorded the most dengue cases this year with 27,765 and 126 deaths, followed by Calabarzon with 19,732 cases and 69 deaths.
To increase treatment capacity some hospitals have set up tents in their bodies and gardens, while sleeping is common. The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) has also deployed emergency medical tents to assist hospitals in managing the huge influx in dengue patients.
DOH said last week that it expected the number of dengue cases to continue to rise until October because of the current wet season.
Dengue deaths are rising across Asean
In Vietnam, the Ministry of Health has urged local government units nationwide to strengthen programs to eradicate mosquito breeding grounds.
More than 115,000 cases of dengue and 12 deaths were recorded between January 1 and August 7, almost three times more than in the same period last year.
In Malaysia, the number of dengue cases between January 1 and August 3 nearly doubled to 42,496 cases and 70 deaths in the same period last year with 80,000 confirmed cases and 113 deaths.
With several months of the wet season left management authorities fear the number of cases may exceed the 120,836 infections and 336 deaths recorded in 2015 during the worst recorded burnout.
Health authorities in Indonesia also saw a peak in dengue infections this year with 176 deaths and more than 16,700 confirmed cases, while in Thailand confirmed cases more than doubled the five-year average.
Thailand's Minister of Public Health (MOPH) says that 64 people died of dengue fever between January 1 and July 21, with more than 50,000 infections. In its latest report it forecasts up to 130,000 cases this year, blamed for "failure to control mosquito larvae" due to this year's growth.
In Singapore, where mosquito awareness programs are almost dating to independence, nine people have so far died from dengue this year with an additional 9,135 cases registered by August 2; Five-fold increase in the number of cases registered during the injury period in 2018. In the seven days to July 27, 610 new dengue cases were reported
$ 200 fine for mosquitoes
Similar to blaming the increased control of lax Moscow larvae, the National Environment Agency of Singapore (NEA) says that in the first six months of 2019, it issued 1,200 executions to about 8,200 homes for failing to keep its locations free of Moscow breeding habitats.
Failure to eradicate habitat suitable for mosques can see Singapore homeowners fined $ 200 or more. Last year about 4,700 homes were fined for not keeping their sites free of Moscow breeding areas.
In Cambodia, the Ministry of Health (MOH) registered 21,130 cases of dengue between the beginning of the year and 1 August, with 33 confirmed deaths.
Cambodian Health Minister Mam Bunheng said rates of infection have dropped significantly over the past several weeks with 3,933 cases recorded in the third week of July compared to 4,769 the week before.
In Lao PDR dengue has so far claimed 34 lives this year with 15,559 confirmed cases, more than double the 6,446 cases recorded in 2018. In Myanmar 12 people are confirmed dead as a result of dengue in the first half of this year with 3,144 more. cases.
Authorities across the region have stepped up operations seeking to disprove the breeding cycle of the Aedes aegypti mosquito responsible for dening, calling on the public to do their biting as well.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that about 2.5 billion people are at risk of contracting dengue worldwide, with 70 percent in the Asia-Pacific region, where global warming is experiencing a rise in vector-borne diseases.
Developing an effective vaccine for dengue has proven difficult.
In 2015 France-based Sanofi Pasteur developed the first flu vaccine. It was deployed extensively in the Philippines by the outside administration of Benigno Aquino III. In December 2017 researchers found that it increased risk for people who had never been infected with dengue, and it was banned in the Philippines.
Visitors and resident expatriates to Asean members are advised to take care specifically against being bitten by mosquitoes by wearing long shirts and long pants, applying a personal mosquito repellent containing DEET to exposed skin, and sleeping under a mosquito net.
Featured photo Janwen
Between November 2010 and February 2012, she was a staff writer at Daylight Online, Nigeria, which writes about health, fashion and relationships. From 2010 – 2017, she worked as a freelance writer for "Nollywood", Nigeria.
She joined AEC News Today in December 2016.
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