From the data available, the Philippines appears to have seen the most dengue fever this year in Southeast Asia reporting about 170,000 cases during the first 11 months of 2015.

Image/Howard the Duck
Image/Howard the Duck

Today, some excellent news for the country–The Philippines’ Food and Drug Administration approved Dengvaxia®, tetravalent dengue vaccine, for the prevention of disease caused by all four dengue types in individuals from 9-45 years of age living in endemic areas, according to Sanofi Pasteur.

This comes two weeks after Mexico approved the vaccine for use. This is the first approval in Asia.

“Approval of the first dengue vaccine in Asia, which bears 70% of global disease burden, is a major milestone in dengue prevention and public health,” notes Olivier Charmeil, President and CEO of Sanofi Pasteur. “Approval of Dengvaxia® in the Philippines, following closely the first approval in Mexico, is further evidence of Sanofi Pasteur’s long-standing commitment to introduce this innovative new vaccine first in countries where dengue is a major public health threat.”

“Prevention of dengue is an urgent and growing medical priority in the Philippines,” says Dr. May Book Montellano, President, Philippine Foundation for Vaccination. “Vaccination is widely accepted as one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce the spread of infectious diseases like dengue. The approval of Dengvaxia®, the world’s first dengue vaccine, in the Philippines will be a critical addition to the ongoing public education and vector control efforts currently directed towards dengue prevention in our country.”

Dengue fever burden in Asia continues to be the highest globally with an estimated 67 million people being sickened by the dengue annually. As an urban disease, dengue attacks populations of Asia in the form of unpredictable outbreaks capable of paralyzing health care systems, negatively impacting social and economic activity. Asian endemic countries spend an estimated 6.5 billion USD annually in both direct medical and indirect costs due to dengue.