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Through May 6, the Philippines has reported a significant decrease in dengue fever cases, according to newly published data from the World Health Organization Western Pacific Region.

Aedes aegypti Image/CDC
Aedes aegypti

A total of 33,760 dengue cases were reported nationwide since the beginning of the year. This number is 32% lower (49,565 cases) compared to the same time period in 2016.

The Philippines reported more than 200,000 dengue cases in each of the past two years.

In Laos, the story is a little different. There were 1,559 cases of dengue with 3 deaths reported in 2017 through May 26. Officials report the number of cases in 2017 was higher than those reported for the same time period in 2016. Compared to the same time period during the previous five years, dengue is now at epidemic level in the country.

Dengue cases are also down in Malaysia and Singapore during the first half of the year.

Dengue is a viral infection transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito. There are four closely related but antigenically different serotypes of the virus that can cause dengue (DEN1, DEN 2, DEN 3, DEN 4).

  • Dengue Fever (DF) – marked by an onset of sudden high fever, severe headache, pain behind the eyes, and pain in muscles and joints. Some may also have a rash and varying degree of bleeding from various parts of the body (including nose, mouth and gums or skin bruising).Dengue has a wide spectrum of infection outcome (asymptomatic to symptomatic). Symptomatic illness can vary from dengue fever (DF) to the more serious dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF).
  • Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever (DHF) – is a more severe form, seen only in a small proportion of those infected. DHF is a stereotypic illness characterized by 3 phases; febrile phase with high continuous fever usually lasting for less than 7 days; critical phase (plasma leaking) lasting 1-2 days usually apparent when fever comes down, leading to shock if not detected and treated early; convalescence phase lasting 2-5 days with improvement of appetite, bradycardia (slow heart rate), convalescent rash (white patches in red background), often accompanied by generalized itching (more intense in palms and soles), and diuresis (increase urine output).
  • Dengue Shock Syndrome (DSS) — Shock syndrome is a dangerous complication of dengue infection and is associated with high mortality. Severe dengue occurs as a result of secondary infection with a different virus serotype. Increased vascular permeability, together with myocardial dysfunction and dehydration, contribute to the development of shock, with resultant multiorgan failure.