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Batanes: only measles-free province in Phl -DOH

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Monday, March 11th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Batanes is the only province in the Philippines that is still free from measles, according to the Department of Health (DOH).

DOH Undersecretary Eric Domingo cited the province’s geographical location as among the likely reasons why it remains measles-free.

Batanes is northernmost province in the Philippines situated in the Cagayan Valley region.

“Batanes is isolated and there is also less traffic there so it remains free from measles. We hope they can maintain that,” Domingo said.

DOH record from January 1 to March 2, 2019 showed that the cases of measles infection in the country have reached 16,349 with 261 deaths. Around 3,374 cases were reported during the same period in 2017, without deaths.

The most number of measles infection were reported from Calabarzon, Metro Manila and Central Luzon with 3,875; 3,617; 2,330 cases, respectively. These are the three regions where measles outbreak was first declared.

The last provinces to report measles cases are Catanduanes with one case, and Tawi-Tawi with 11 cases, according to DOH data.

Domingo added that as of March 6, the DOH was already able to hit half of its targeted 3,783,985 children aged six to 59 months.

“Our coverage has already reached 45 percent. We are hopeful that we can vaccinate all of the target children soon,” he maintained.

The Health Official added that the DOH and local governments have scaled up vaccination of eligible children to keep measles at bay.

The DOH has also started door-to-door supplemental immunization and intensified routine vaccination at health centers in the hopes of controlling the measles outbreak by April or May.

The agency has repeatedly called on parents and caregivers to get their child vaccinated to protect them from measles and other diseases.

Aside from measles, the country is also grappling with spiking dengue cases which has reached 36,664 with 140 deaths as of February 2019. — Robie de Guzman

Dengue cases hit 36,000; death toll reaches 140

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Cavite, several areas in Zamboanga Sibugay under state of calamity due to dengue

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Friday, July 19th, 2019

A child suffering from dengue fever receives medical treatment at an isolation ward of a government-run hospital in Manila, Philippines, 16 July 2019. (Photoville International)

Cavite and several areas in Zamboanga Sibugay are under a state of calamity due to the increasing number of dengue cases in the province.

Based on the data of the Department of Health (DOH), the number of dengue cases in Cavite went up to 3,605 from January to July 13 this year. This is higher than the 2,670 cases recorded in 2018.

Around 18 patients have already died due to the illness this year.

Meanwhile, dengue cases in the Zamboanga Peninsula also increased to 9,104 with over 30 deaths.

According to DOH IX, several areas in Cavite and in Zamboanga have already declared a state of calamity. These areas include Ipil, Kabasalan, Buug, and Diplahan.

DOH IX Infectious Cluster Dr. Mary Rose Bugtai said the local government will be able to use the calamity fund to address the dengue situation in their area.

“To address the current situation like the want to purchase more commodities for integrated vector management like our larvae site like our spray cans for misting and other commodities used for dengue outbreak,” she said.—AAC (with reports from Benedict Samson)

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Dengue on the rise: How to protect your family against dengue virus

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Monday, July 15th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Monday declared a national alert due to spiking dengue cases in several regions.

READ: DOH declares dengue alert in several regions

Data from the DOH showed that from January 1 to June 29, 2019, there have been 106,630 dengue cases this year. This is 85 percent higher than the 57,564 cases reported in the same period in 2018.

Regions where the dengue alert was raised include Regions 1, 2, 4A, 5, 8, 9, 11, Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), and the Cordillera Autonomous Region (CAR).

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), dengue is a mosquito-borne viral infection commonly occurring in tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world, including the Philippines.

The dengue virus (DEN) comprises four distinct serotypes (DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3 and DEN-4) which belong to the genus Flavivirus, family Flaviviridae.

The Aedes aegypti mosquito is the main vector that transmits the viruses that cause dengue. The viruses are passed on to humans through the bites of an infective female Aedes mosquito, which mainly acquires the virus while feeding on the blood of an infected person.

How dengue virus affects your body?

Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Cybele Abad, in an interview with UNTV Digital program Lifesaver, said that when dengue virus enters the human body, it spreads through blood and infects the cells by binding itself to the cell membrane.

When this happens, an infected person may feel sudden, high fever followed by severe headaches, pain behind the eyes and severe joint and muscle pain. A person may also feel fatigue, nausea and skin rash which would appear two to five days after the onset of fever.

Watch this online episode of Lifesaver for more information on how dengue affects your body.

Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms of dengue typically last two to seven days. Most people infected by the virus will recover after about a week.

However, some people who get sick with dengue may develop severe dengue, a more serious form of disease that can result in shock, internal bleeding and even death.

Symptoms of severe dengue include stomach or belly pain, bleeding from the nose or gums, vomiting blood or blood in the stool. Warning signs generally begin in 24-48 hours after your fever has gone away.

If you or a family member develops any of the following symptoms, immediately go to the nearest hospital.

How to prevent dengue?

To protect yourself and your family from dengue, the DOH advises the public to follow the 4S strategy: Search and destroy, Self-protection measures, Seek early consultation and Support fogging/spraying.

The DOH said it is important to search and destroy the breeding sites of mosquitoes such as containers that can store water; employ self-protection measures by installing screen on windows and doors in homes and schools, wear long socks, clothes with long sleeves and daily use of mosquito repellent.

It is also vital to seek early consultation when a person is starting to experience the symptoms. The public is also urged to support fogging or spraying only in areas where increase in cases is registered for two consecutive weeks to prevent an impending outbreak.

Experts said dengue virus-carrying mosquitoes are usually active from 9 to 11 a.m. and 4 to 6 p.m.

Lifesaver is a UNTV Digital program that offers basic first aid training essential to anyone who happens to be a bystander to an accident or emergency. It also educates viewers of imperative emergency response lessons and indispensable disaster preparedness tools to be able to save lives in times of calamities.

For more information on dengue, other basic first aid and emergency response tips, visit Lifesaver’s Youtube and Facebook accounts.

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DOH declares dengue alert in several regions

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Monday, July 15th, 2019

The Department of Health (DOH) has declared “national dengue alert” on Monday (July 15) after recording a spike in reported dengue cases in several regions.

According to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, there is an 85 percent increase in the number of dengue cases in the country, from January 1 to June 29, 2019. From 57,564 reported cases in the same period last year, it spiked to 106,630 this year.

Among the regions included in the national dengue alert are Regions I, II, IV-A, V, VIII, IX, XI. BARMM, and CAR.

“The top among the regions would be Western Visayas, followed by Calabarzon, Central Visayas, Soccsksargen and Northern Mindanao. There is no national epidemic but there is certainly regional” added Duque.

Duque said they also want to raise awareness in communities where dengue cases are evident.—AAC

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