The “preliminary” final numbers are finally out and the Philippines saw an increase in dengue fever of nearly 65 percent in 2015 compared to the prior year. Through Dec. 31, the archipelago reported  200,415 suspected cases of dengue, including 598 deaths.

Image/Howard the Duck
Image/Howard the Duck

This compares with the 121,000 cases seen in 2014.

Officials do note that the final number will change after inclusion of delayed reports.

Dengue is transmitted by the bite of a mosquito infected with one of the four dengue virus serotypes. It is a febrile illness that affects infants, young children and adults with symptoms appearing 3-14 days after the infective bite.

Dengue is not transmitted directly from person-to-person and symptoms range from mild fever, to incapacitating high fever, with severe headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pain, and rash.

Severe dengue (also known as dengue hemorrhagic fever) is characterized by fever, abdominal pain, persistent vomiting, bleeding and breathing difficulty and is a potentially lethal complication, affecting mainly children.

In the past 50 years, the incidence of dengue worldwide has increased 30-fold, largely as a consequence of the growth of cities and increased travel.

According to a 2013 WHO report between 1955 and 1959, the number of countries reporting cases of dengue increased from three to eight; in 2012, the geographical distribution of dengue included more than 125 countries.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates there may be 50–100 million dengue infections worldwide every year. However,there was 2013 research from the University of Oxford and the Wellcome Trust, using cartographic approaches, estimate there to be 390 million dengue infections per year worldwide.