On Thursday, Philippines House of Representatives Speaker, Feliciano Belmonte, who admitted into the St. Luke’s Medical Center in Quezon City, said he tested positive for the mosquito borne viral disease, dengue fever.

Feliciano "Sonny" Belmonte/US Embassy
Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte/US Embassy

The 78-year-old Congressman and former QC mayor said in a text message to reporters yesterday, “It takes time to study the blood samples taken from me twice a day. As of today it is dengue.”

“Sonny”, as he’s known, said he started feeling ill on Monday evening while at Congress.  Joy Belmonte, the vice mayor of suburban Quezon City in Metro Manila and the speaker’s daughter, earlier confirmed her father was rushed to the hospital on Monday after he complained of high fever.

Belmonte is the most prominent public official to contract dengue fever in the Philippines.

The latest data from the Philippines Department of Health, as of June 20, the archipelago has reported 32,440 dengue fever cases, including 105 deaths. This is a slight increase compared to the case count reported at the same time in 2014.

Related story: ‘Be Careful With My Heart’ star, Jodi Sta. Maria, hospitalized with dengue fever

Dengue fever is an infectious disease carried by mosquitoes and caused by any of four related dengue viruses. This disease used to be called “break-bone fever” because it sometimes causes severe joint and muscle pain that feels like bones are breaking.

People get the dengue virus from the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito. It is not contagious from person to person. There are three types of dengue fever in order of less severe to most: the typical uncomplicated dengue fever, dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHS) and dengue shock syndrome (DSS).

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

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Aedes aegypti/CDC
Aedes aegypti/CDC