MANILA, April 4 (Xinhua) -- Dengue cases in the Philippines have reached 52,595 from Jan. 1 to March 23 this year, with 210 deaths, the Philippine Department of Health (DOH) said on Thursday.
This is a 76-percent jump from the 29,861 cases reported during the same period last year, the DOH added. Most of those affected are five to nine years old.
Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo said the EL Nino dry spell in the Philippines is causing mosquitos to be more aggressive. Also, he added that residents tend to store water in containers, providing dengue virus-carrying mosquitos.
Dengue is transmitted through a bite of dengue-infected Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes. These mosquitoes can lay eggs in any space or container that holds clear and stagnant water like bottle caps, gutters, trash cans, old rubber tires, etc. They usually bite between two hours after sunrise and two hours before sunset and can be found inside and outside the house.
The DOH has renewed its call to the public to prevent dengue by destroying mosquito-breeding sites and to wear long pants and long sleeved shirts and daily use of mosquito repellent.
The DOH further urged people to seek early consultation, and support fogging or spraying in hotspot areas where increase in cases is registered for two consecutive weeks to prevent an impending outbreak.
The World Health Organization said that there is no specific treatment for dengue, but early detection and access to medical care lowers fatality rates below one percent, and prevention is the key to fight dengue.
Symptoms of dengue include sudden onset of fever of two to seven days, plus two of the following, headache, body weakness, joint and muscle pains, pain behind the eyes, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, and skin rashes.
“It is important to seek early consultation between one to three days of fever to immediately recognize the disease, which may require the patient to increase fluid intake, especially Oral Rehydration Solution that is proven to be life-saving for dengue patients,” the DOH said in an advisory.