More dengue deaths recorded in 2016

MANILA, Philippines - Despite intensified efforts to control the spread of dengue, the government recorded more deaths caused by the mosquito-borne disease in 2016.

Data from the Department of Health (DOH) showed a total of 1,019 dengue deaths were recorded from January to December 2016. The figure was 372 or more than 50 percent higher the fatality rate of 647 recorded in 2015.

Case fatality rate was highest among children or those in the one-to-four years age group.

The DOH records indicated that while case fatality rate went up, the total number of dengue cases nationwide dropped by 1.3 percent from 213,930 cases in 2015 to 211,108 last year.

Central Visayas accounted for the largest number or 12.9 percent of the total cases, followed by Western Visayas with 12.4 percent and Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) with 10.4 percent.

Other regions with high incidence of dengue include Central Luzon with 20,298 cases; Soccsksargen (South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and General Santos with 17,903 and the National Capital Region with 16,270.

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Dengue patients’ age ranged from one month to 100 years, but most of the cases belong to the five-to-14 years age group. Males accounted for more than half or 52.2 percent of the total cases.

Last year, the world’s first dengue vaccine was made available in the local market and the government initiated a school-based immunization drive for public school students.

But even with the vaccine, health authorities stressed the need to search and destroy potential mosquito breeding sites to prevent the spread of dengue.

Health officials said cleanliness is still the best prevention.