MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Health (DOH) recorded a 98.9 percent increase in the number of dengue cases for the first eight months of this year compared with the same period in 2009. However, Health Secretary Enrique Ona pointed out that a downward trend of dengue cases has also been observed starting this month.
From Jan. 1 to Aug. 28 this year, the DOH recorded 69,594 cases, almost double the 34,997 cases during the same period in 2009. The death toll from dengue has reached 501, compared to 369 last year.
“There has been a trending since the last week of August to the early days of September... The good news is that it seems to be leveling off already,” Ona said in a press briefing.
He cited the East Avenue Medical Center in Quezon City which used to have around 100 dengue consultations a day, with 15 of the patients admitted to the hospital.
Last Monday, the hospital received only 20 to 30 consultations, including seven admissions, Ona said.
“Cases peaked in August but it seems to be going down now. That’s the natural course of a disease,” Ona added.
To enable health workers to focus on the anti-dengue campaign and other work, Ona directed the DOH to temporarily suspend the conduct of seminars for health personnel.
But he urged local health authorities to remain vigilant, saying the downward trend could easily be reversed.
The health chief warned that while many regions see a decline in dengue cases, the number of patients in Metro Manila continues to increase.
Ona added that the elimination of possible breeding sites of mosquitoes should continue to sustain the downward trend of dengue cases.
DOH records showed that 16.8 percent of the 69,594 cases came from Western Visayas; 11 percent from Calabarzon (Cavite-Laguna-Batangas-Rizal-Quezon); 10.2 percent from Soccsksargen (South Cotabato-Cotabato-Sultan Kudarat-Sarangani-General Santos City); 9.5 percent from Eastern Visayas; 8.9 percent from Metro Manila and 7.7 percent from Davao.
At present, the DOH is also verifying reports that there is an outbreak of dengue in Tuguegarao City in Cagayan; Ilo- ilo City and Zamboanga City.
Sheila Crisostomo, Philippine Star