Sept. 23, 2010, 3:32 p.m.
Posted at 09/01/2010 3:32 PM | Updated as of 09/02/2010 6:14 PM
MANILA, Philippines - As the government intensifies prevention campaigns, the Department of Health (DoH) said dengue incidence may already be “at its peak or on the slide.”
In a press conference in Malacañang on Wednesday, Health Secretary Enrique Ona said the country recorded 62,503 cases from January to August 31 this year, up 88.8% from last year.
The government has also recorded 465 deaths compared to 350 during the same period last year.
He said the fatality rate is a marked improvement compared to 10 years ago.
The number of deaths is 1% of the total number of cases. Ten years ago, the rate was at 2%, he said.
While cases were reported all over the country, these are concentrated in: Calabarzon (Cavite-Laguna-Batangas-Rizal-Quezon); Eastern and Western Visayas; and Northern, Central and Southern Mindanao.
Metro Manila recorded 5,558 cases, lower compared to last year’s figures at 6,561. Most are in Mandaluyong and Marikina.
‘We are on top of it’
“Yun hong incidence ng dengue, sa aming tingin, nasa peak na tayo or dumadaan na tayo sa pababa ng peak. However, ito ay inoobserbahan natin ng husto para maintindihan ng mga kababayan natin na huwag masyadong mabahala na itong sakit na ito ay dumadami,” he said.
He said the government is “on top” of the situation.
He noted that they are exhausting all means in order to temper the number, or even cure the disease.
He said a vaccine may still be out of the picture. “Marami research, but as far as vaccine is concerned, we’re 1 or 2 years away from that.”
As such, the Philippines is already coordinating with health ministers from other Southeast Asian countries to alleviate the situation in hotspots.
Countries in tropical areas, or those found 12 degrees north and south of the equator, are part of the so-called dengue region.
“Magkakaroon ng common effort both in monitoring as well as in research para in the future, maka-develop tayo ng paraan na ma-prevent na ang dengue,” he said.
Ona reiterated that the public should be guided by the health department’s prevention and monitoring methods, in order to prevent overcrowding in hospitals.
He said health centers should serve as express lanes to filter patients who really need to go to the hospitals.
“Dapat ipaalam na hindi lahat ng tao na may lagnat ay may dengue agad,” he added.
If the person has had fever reaching 38.5 degrees Celsius or up for 2 days running already, he or she should already go to the nearest health center or hospital for check-up.
He said the Philippine Health Insurance is also ready to provide assistance to its members.