The Philippines Department of Health in the Eastern Visayas are reporting a 2-times increase in dengue fever cases during the first five weeks of 2019 compared to last year.

Image/CDC
Image/CDC

According to the data, the number of cases in the region from Jan. 1 to Feb. 9 totals 1,169 cases, compared to the 561 cases recorded in the same period in 2018.

Samar has seen the most cases in the region with 396, followed by Leyte (254) and Northern Samar (244).

“This is unusual since cases continue to increase since last year. It never happened in the past that dengue cases are up for two consecutive years,” said Leonido Olobia, DOH Eastern Visayas anti-dengue program coordinator.

Last year, the Eastern Visayas reported 11,000 dengue cases, the most in eight years.

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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.

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