Malacañang open to considering return of Dengvaxia amid spike in dengue cases
Marje Pelayo • August 1, 2019 • 667
MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang said it is open to considering the return of the controversial Dengvaxia vaccine to address the rising number of dengue cases in the country.
“We’re always open to anything that will benefit the Filipino people. We’re not closed to any suggestion,” Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said.
Panelo made the statement in response to former Health Secretary now Iloilo 1st District Rep. Janette Garin’s claim that the recent dengue outbreak could have been prevented if the Dengvaxia vaccination hadn’t been discontinued.
Panelo clarified, however, that though Malacañang is open to the idea, there has to be a thorough and extensive discussion with experts to support any call for the return of Dengvaxia.
“Ang mga experts, hindi nagkakasundo diyan. May nagsasabing pwede, may nagsasabing hindi pwede, (Experts cannot agree. Some say [Dengavxia] is good, others say it’s not),” Panelo said.
“So we need to thoroughly investigate exactly the situation involving the Dengvaxia,” he added.
In November 2017, the government stopped the implementation of Dengvaxia vaccine after its manufacturer, Sanofi Pasteur, warned that it might cause severe symptoms if given to individuals who have no prior dengue infection.
It led to the so-called ‘Dengvaxia scare’ where a number of children died after allegedly receiving Dengvaxia shots. The cases however, remain under investigation.
“If the weight of findings show that there is benefit using Dengvaxia against dengue, then certainly the government should consider it,” Panelo concluded.
Based on the latest record of the Department of Health (DOH), dengue cases in the country have already spiked to 130,463 from January 1 to July 13 this year, double in number as compared to the same period last year which is only 67,690 cases.
The number of deaths this year is at 561, almost double from last year with only 367 deaths.
The national dengue alert remains in effect as more areas declare dengue epidemic including Western Visayas, CALABARZON, SOCKSARGEN, Northern Mindanao, Central Visayas and the National Capital Region (NCR).
According to Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo, dengue this year is considered a global health issue because of the observed cycle of dengue virus infection which spikes every three years.
“2019 worldwide is really shaping up to be with one those highly burdened years for dengue,” Domingo confirmed.
The DOH is set to convene its regional offices to ensure that concerns regarding dengue are properly addressed and under control.
The Department, as always, reminds the public to maintain cleanliness of surroundings and keep protected especially the children from dengue carrying-mosquitoes. – Aiko Miguel contributed to this report
The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) wants to look into research-based technologies to address the dengue problem in the country.
DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña said the department has funded several research projects and programs to aid in addressing the different aspects of the disease.
“Through the DOST-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development, we have funded a number of research projects and programs consistent with the multi-prong approach in the control of dengue that address different aspects such as diagnosis and treatment,” he said.
One of the researches supported by the DOST is the Biotek M which is a rapid diagnostic test for dengue. This kit can diagnose dengue as early as two to three days after the onset of illness.
They are also looking into a possible herbal medicine for dengue.
“Dengue research and development has always been one of the priority research areas in the country. This is stated in the Harmonized National Research and Development Agenda led by the DOST,” said Sec. de la Peña.—AAC
MANILA, Philippines – Dengue cases reported in the Philippines have reached more than 208,000 from January 1 to August 10 this year, the Department of Health (DOH) said on Tuesday.
The DOH said this figure is higher than the 102, 298 cases recorded in the same period last year.
Of this number, 900 deaths were reported.
Data from the DOH revealed that ten regions including the National Capital Region (NCR) have exceeded the Dengue Epidemic Threshold for the said period.
DOH Dengue Surveillance Report also showed that Region 6 (Western Visayas) had the most number of cases at 23,330 followed by Region 4-A (Calabarzon) with 16,515, Region 9 (Zamboanga Peninsula) with 12,317, Region 10 (Northern Mindanao) with 11,455 and Region 12 (SOCCSKSARGEN) with 11,083 cases.
In San Lazaro Hospital in Manila alone, at least 100 patients infected with dengue are being monitored daily since July.
According to San Lazaro Hospital Spokesperson Ferdinand de Guzman, the number of dengue cases is seen to rise in the coming months.
“We’re only in August, just August, so we still have months to come with rains. So, in fact, we feel the dengue season started late this year, although in the provinces there are already cases and the Department of Health’s predictions have been right, we might see so many cases of dengue,” he said.
“We still expect to see cases of dengue until the end of the year, so until the rains are here, there will still be dengue cases, so we have to be careful,” he added.
Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral infection contracted through a bite of dengue virus-carrying mosquitoes, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. These mosquitoes can lay eggs in containers or spaces that can hold water, even plant pots with stagnant water.
Symptoms of the dengue fever include sudden onset of fever for two to seven days along with headache, rashes, fatigue, joint and muscle pains, pain behind the eyes, loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhea.
The DOH has been calling on the public to help prevent and control the spread of dengue by maintaining cleanliness and searching and destroying mosquito breeding sites. (RRD with details from Correspondent Aiko Miguel)
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