For the Philippines as a whole, it has been a tough year for dengue fever, particularly during the second half of 2015. The archipelago is reporting a 60 percent increase in cases during the first nearly 11 months of 2015 compared to the same period in 2014- 169,435  vs 106,241 suspected cases.

However, the a region in northern Luzon is reporting astounding increases in 2015–this in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).

Aedes aegypti/CDC
Aedes aegypti/CDC

According to Amelita M. Pangilinan, regional director of the Cordillera office of the Department of Health, a total of 9,858 dengue fever cases have been reported in the first 11 months of the year compared to 2,478 cases same time last year representing a whopping 298 percent increase.

Two provinces in the region saw increases in dengue of more than 600 percent–Mountain province and Kalinga, with 682 and 609 percent increases, respectively.

Even Baguio, a major tourist destination in the country and the regional center of CAR, saw a more than 300 percent increase in dengue this year.

Related: Ayoko sa Lamok: Filipino youth’s battle against 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 (DHF) and dengue shock syndrome (DSS).

Symptoms of DHF include all the symptoms of classic dengue (very high fever, up to 105°F, severe headache, pain behind the eye, severe joint and muscle pain, nausea and vomiting and a rash) plus severe damage to the blood vessels. Bleeding from the nose, gums or under the skin are common. This form of dengue can be fatal.

More than 500 dengue related deaths have been reported in the Philippines this year.

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

Follow @bactiman63