Since the last dengue fever update in the Philippines on Oct. 3, health officials say the case count on the archipelago grew by more than 16,000 cases in a two week period.

Image/Howard the Duck
Image/Howard the Duck

The country’s Department of Health’s Epidemiology Bureau reports that from the beginning of the year through Oct. 17, a total of 124,728 dengue cases were recorded.

This compares to the same period in 2014 when 88,898 cases were seen. This represents a more than 40 percent increase in cases.

The Philippines is just one of several southeast Asian countries reporting large numbers of cases in 2015.

In Thailand, the case count is more than 107,000 as of Nov. 8 and in Malaysia, the tally exceeds 102,000 cases as of Nov. 6.

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

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