Health officials in the Philippines have upgraded the country’s outbreak of Dengue fever to a national epidemic as more than 145,000 cases have been reported since January alone.
The agency’s Secretary Francisco Duque III made the announcement Tuesday in hopes that local governments would now be able to tap into a special Quick Response Fund to combat the quick-spreading disease.
At least 146,062 cases of Dengue fever have been reported from January to July 20, showing a 98 percent jump from the same period last year. The outbreak has lead to 622 deaths, officials said.
PHILIPPINES DECLARES NATIONAL EMERGENCY AFTER MORE THAN 100,000 PEOPLE CONTRACT DENGUE FEVER
Just last month, Duque declared a national emergency after the reported cases reached over 100,000.
The agency’s announcement Tuesday came as officials say they intend to target the outbreak by finding and destroying mosquito breeding sites, the primary means of containing dengue.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dengue is common to more than 100 countries and, on average, about 400 million people will get infected with the disease each year. Of that number, 100 million will get sick and 22,000 will die from the infection.
The virus is usually spread through the bite of an infected mosquito.
Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, rashes, and aches and pains. There is no known cure or medication for the disease.
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Other Southeast Asian countries have also reported an upsurge in dengue cases this year, according to the U.N.’s World Health Organization. The organization said Malaysia had registered 62,421 cases through June 29, including 93 deaths, compared to 32,425 cases with 53 deaths for the same period last year. Vietnam over the same period had 81,132 cases with four deaths reported, compared to 26,201 cases including six deaths in 2018.
In South Asia, Bangladesh has been facing its worst-ever dengue fever outbreak, putting a severe strain on the country’s already overwhelmed medical system.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.