No letup in anti-dengue campaign despite fewer cases

MANILA, Philippines -  Despite the decline in the number of dengue cases, the Department of Health (DOH) is still intensifying its campaign to “search and destroy” mosquito breeding places nationwide.


Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial urged the public to help the government in stopping possible increase in dengue cases by cleaning their surroundings and destroying all mosquito breeding sites.


Ubial said the Philippines is joining other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in mounting an intensified drive to defeat the potentially deadly illness.


The first step to prevent dengue is within the homes, Ubial said, thus it is important to instill cleanliness of surroundings and empty containers with stagnant water to eliminate mosquito breeding sites.


Also, Ubial stressed that “if fever is persistent,” it is imperative to seek early consultation even without rashes for proper medical management and avoid complications.


Ubial said support of the local government units and other sectors is needed to educate every household on the importance of preventing the spread of dengue.


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From January to May 20, the DOH recorded a 31.8 percent decline in dengue cases nationwide with a total of 35,973 compared to 52,780 during the same period last year.


Most of the dengue cases were recorded in Central Visayas, Central Luzon and the National Capital Region (NCR). A majority of the cases were males and young children.


“Even with the decline, we cannot be complacent in our efforts against dengue and we must strive harder to eventually make the Philippines (a) dengue-free country,” she said.


Meanwhile, Ubial said the DOH is no longer purchasing additional vaccines even if the government is set to expand its dengue vaccination program.


“We are just trying to use the remaining vaccines, which will expire by August 2018,” Ubial pointed out.


DOH earlier announced that the dengue vaccination program will also cover Cebu aside from Metro Manila, Central Luzon and Calabarzon.


In Cebu, Ubial said the vaccination will be done in health centers still with the same target age group – Grade 4 public school students aged nine years old.