The Philippines' health ministry declared a national dengue epidemic on Tuesday after reporting a spike in the number of cases of the illness, which has left more than 600 people dead since the start of the year.
From January to July 20, the Department of Health has recorded a
total of 146,062 cases of dengue nationwide, 98 per cent higher than
in the same period in 2018, Health Secretary Francisco Duque said.
The department has also recorded 622 deaths from the virus.
"It is important that a national epidemic be declared ... to identify
where a localised response is needed and to enable the local
government units to use their quick response fund to address the
epidemic situation," he told a meeting with disaster management
The increase in dengue cases in the Philippines comes two years after
the government stopped a mass immunization programme using the
vaccine Dengvaxia, manufactured by French firm Sanofi Pasteur.
The decision came after Sanofi Pasteur disclosed that the vaccine
posed risks to people who had not been infected before immunization.
The Philippines revoked Dengvaxia's certification after reports of
deaths linked to the vaccine.
A mother takes care of her daughter suffering from Dengue at the San Lazaro Hospital. Photo courtesy: Enrique Agcaoili/Manila Times