Dengue fever cases have increased slightly in the Philippines during the first three months of 2015 as compared to the same period in 2014, according to the Philippines Department of Health.

Aedes aegypti/CDC
Aedes aegypti/CDC

From Jan to Mar. 2015, there were 19,946 suspected dengue cases reported on the archipelago, a little more than a six percent increase from 2014’s 18,730 cases during the first quarter.

The hardest hot region was CALABARZON, or Region IV-A with 3,778 cases. The region consists of  5 provinces–Cavite, Laguna,Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon.

Although the total cases are up this year, dengue related fatalities are down, 53 versus 85, respectively.

In Malaysia where hundreds of cases are reported daily, the total case count as of Thursday stands at 36,611. In addition, an additional fatality was reported bringing the total this year to 113.

Selangor state has reported the most cases at 21, 471 to date.

According to the World Health Organization, 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 withsymptomsappearing 3-14 days after the infective bite. As many as 400 million people areinfectedyearly.

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. There is no vaccine or any specific medicine to treat dengue. People who have dengue fever should rest, drink plenty of fluids and reduce the fever using paracetamol or see a doctor.

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. Early clinical diagnosis and careful clinical management by trained physicians and nurses increase survival of patients.

Related: Dengue fever cases in Brazil increase 5-fold during past month