Despite recording more than 200,000 dengue fever cases in 2015, Philippines health officials are recording even more cases in 2016 to date, based on the latest data from the Philippines Department of Health (DOH) released Wednesday.

Aedes albopictus/FotoshopTofs
Aedes albopictus/FotoshopTofs

Through July 23, health officials report 70,697 suspected dengue cases. This is an increase of more than 19 percent compared to the same period last year (59,342).

Regions reporting the most dengue this year include Calabarzon, Central Visayas, Soccsksargen, Northern Mindanao and Central Luzon.

Dozens of barangays, or villages have been declared “dengue hot zones” by health officials. These barangays are found in some of the major cities in the country including Quezon City, Cebu City, Davao City and Baguio City.

Of the 70,000 cases reported to date, less than one half of one percent were fatal (308). Nearly 600 dengue-related fatalities were reported in all of 2015.

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.

There is no specific medication for treatment of a dengue infection, only treat the symptoms.

There is a dengue fever vaccine on the market, Dengvaxia; however, to date only 5 countries have approved it’s use and only the Philippines, the first country in Asia to approve it, is actually using it.