Dengue fever is no stranger to the country of some 7,000 islands, the Philippines; however, 2015 has been a particularly harsh year for the mosquito borne viral disease, particularly in recent months.

Through the middle of October, the Philippines has seen 124,728 including 374 deaths. This is 40.3% higher compared with the same reporting period in 2014 when some 89,000 cases were reported.

One campaign in the Philippines, comprised of young people ages 15-22, has vowed to take the battle to dengue fever and it’s vector, the Aedes mosquito. It is called Ayoko sa Lamok, or in English–I hate mosquitoes.

The campaign is spearheaded by the organization, Youth in Action, a volunteer group of young Filipinos who not only take on dengue fever, but also work on projects as diverse as for disabled children and young inventors.

The Ayoko Sa Lamok Campaign is the world’s largest anti dengue campaign with the challenge to eradicate all mosquitoes breeding spots, Youth in Action Leader, 18-year-old Thomas Wak told Outbreak News Today.

The campaign is more a national game/challenge, Wak said. Schools vs. School, Barangay vs. Barangay (barangay is the name of administrative division in the Philippines, similar to a village) and Best Barangay house. Prizes will be given to winning schools, barangays and houses.

Ayoko sa Lamok Image used by permission from Thomas Wak
Ayoko sa Lamok
Image used by permission from Thomas Wak

The Nationwide Action Day will take place on February 7, 2016. Wak says currently they have raised an “army” of more than 6 million students ready for the action day, including 31,678 education entities, 42,029 Barangays and 578,012 homes, which have registered for the challenge. By February, Wak says they expect more 12 million students and youth to participate for the Action Day.

In addition, these young people has received the support of Philippines Army AFP (Army Force Pilipinas) with Philippines Police PNP (Pilipinas National Police) to clean dangerous areas and to provide trucks to takeaway all trash where mosquitoes breed.

Mr. Wak said, “Filipino youth understand this is a challenge and want demonstrate to their elders that they have a way to solve the problem in their own way.

“Every country in the world has failed to eradicate mosquito borne diseases, why don’t let the youth try their way? No medical talks, No boring strategy, instead a campaign with lot of fun but where nobody forgets the goal.

“If it works…. it will become a Filipino gift for the humanity. It will also demonstrate Youth can deal with major environmental problem if elders let them create a campaign in the way they want to that attracts millions of youths.”

Wak also notes that on Feb. 7 they will also introduce the use of coffee grounds as larvae killer. Starting next month they will be asking the public to save coffee grounds for use on the February 7 event.

To learn more about the campaign or to get involved, visit their website at Ayoko sa Lamok 

Also check out other projects these young Filipinos are doing at the website Youth in Action

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.

Robert Herriman is a microbiologist and the Editor-in-Chief of Outbreak News Today and the Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch

Follow @bactiman63