2012 was the biggest year for the Dengue fever to hit the Philippines, and we thought we’ve seen the height of its reach. We were wrong.
The Department of Health (DOH) has declared a national dengue epidemic last Tuesday, August 6, as cases of the mosquito-borne disease continue to rise in the country. The Guardian reports that there has been a total of 146,060cases of dengue fever from January to the 20th of July this year—which is 98 percent more than last year’s statistics.
Dengue fever is the most important mosquito-borne viral disease in the world. It is a viral disease transmitted primarily by female mosquitoes from the species Aedes aegypti, and is considered the most common arbovirus (arthropod-borne virus) infection globally, with transmission occurring in at least 128 countries and almost four billion people at risk.
The outbreak followed a nationwide ban on the sale and distribution of the Dengvaxia vaccine—a supposed cure made by French pharmaceutical firm Sanofi Pasteur, in February. The company had been at the heart of a scandal in the Philippines in late 2017 and 2018, when dozens of children given the vaccine as part of a nationwide immunization program died. The firm conceded that the product could put some children at higher risk.
Instead, the country decides to fight the outbreak by conducting a campaign to focus on finding and destroying mosquito breeding sites. The DOH says that “Prevention is the key to avert dengue outbreak.”
Typical symptoms of Dengue are high fever, severe headaches, joints, and eye pains, easy bruising, rashes, mild nose or gum bleeding, and low white blood cell count. If you’ve been experiencing these, it’s best if you see your doctor to be sure. Dangerous symptoms, however, require immediate medical attention like severe abdominal pain, persistent vomiting, red spots or scratches on the skin, vomiting blood, drowsiness or irritability, difficulty in breathing, and pale, cold, or clammy skin.
In trying times like this, especially with unsure vaccines, it is best to take the necessary precautions in preventing Dengue. Avoiding those mosquito bites would be the safest course of action in skirting around the virus.
Here are some quick tips to dodge those mosquito bites:
Appropriate clothing and mosquito repellants
Especially in outdoor environments, it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to excessive application of mosquito repellants, or in wearing sleeved shirts and pants in. If you know you’ll be in a place where mosquitos can be, always be ready!
Keep your doors and windows closed
This is a standard operating procedure, especially living in a tropical country like the Philippines. Always keep your windows and doors closed to prevent those mosquitos from entering your homes. Best if you make use of screens so that you can keep the air in and the pests out.
Avoid areas with standing water
Especially at times of high mosquito activity like dawn and dusk. These are usual places where mosquitos breed and lay their eggs.
Dispose of waste properly
Trash disposal is a key step in keeping your homes clean and those mosquitos away. They tend to lurk when waste has been lingering for days. Also, be careful and aware of covering, emptying, and cleaning your domestic water storage containers on a weekly basis—this is where they tend to breed.
Photo courtesy of China Daily
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