Philippines declares dengue outbreak a national epidemic
MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippines’ Department of Health on Tuesday declared the country’s outbreak of dengue to be a national epidemic.
The agency said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III made the declaration to improve the response to the outbreak by allowing local governments to draw on a special Quick Response Fund.
It said the Philippines recorded 146,062 cases of dengue from January through July 20 this year, 98% more than the same period in 2018.
It said the outbreak caused 622 deaths.
Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral infection found in tropical countries worldwide. It can cause joint pain, nausea, vomiting and a rash, and can cause breathing problems, haemorrhaging and organ failure in severe cases.
While there is no specific treatment for the illness, medical care to maintain a person’s fluid levels is seen as critical.
The Department of Health said that starting Tuesday, it was conducting a campaign to focus on finding and destroying mosquito breeding sites, which is a primary means of containing dengue.
Other government agencies, local government units, schools, offices and communities will join in the effort, it said.