Philippines Health Secretary Warns Of Impending Dengue Threat

With the start of the rainy season, Francisco Duque III, health secretary in the Philippines, on Tuesday emphasized a continued government commitment to controlling and preventing dengue – a disease for which there is currently no vaccine or specific drug, the Manila Times reports.

A total of 6,537 cases of dengue, including 62 deaths, have been reported in the country over the past five months, according to the Department of Health (DOH). While the latest DOH dengue figures are lower compared to this time last year, “a sharp increase is expected when cases for the past month – when the country experienced heavy rains – are included in the tally,” the newspaper writes.

“We are heartened by the heroic efforts of all those who worked hard so that there is a big 57.4 percent decrease in the number of dengue cases compared to the same period last year,” Duque said. Still, he cautioned, “Our success last year, however, should not lull us into complacency this year.”

Because diseases are more prevalent during the rainy season, the government kicked off a nationwide anti-dengue campaign last week to educate the population on how to protect themselves. “The most important key to prevent and control diseases is empowering our people with correct information so that they can take steps to stop their transmission and limit the harm that they bring through proper and timely health-seeking behavior,” Duque said (Lontayao, Manila Times, 6/10).