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News for Dengue in the Philippines

I thought I would create a page about dengue in the Philippines.  Though I might include information about dengue from other parts of the world from  time to time, this page will be like a journal of important information about dengue.

What is Dengue?

Dengue is caused by a virus.  A virus that is spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito.

Dengue In The Philippines
Aedes Mosquito — Carries Dengue

Infections from dengue causing virus range from no symptoms at all, to a simple fever and rash, to life threatening.

Symptoms For Dengue Fever

When symptoms do develop they include sudden fever, headache (behind the eyes), muscle and joint pains, and a bright red rash.  Sometimes the disease is even called “bone break” due to the severe muscle and bone pain.

The illness can develop into dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) which is a more severe form of dengue infection. It can be fatal if unrecognized and not properly treated in a timely manner.  DHF can lead to internal bleeding and bleeding from the nose and gums.  It can also cause fluid build up in the brain resulting in seizures.  With DHF circulatory failure is usually the cause of death as the fluid portion of the blood leaks from capillaries into surrounding tissue.

man with dengue rash
Example of Dengue Rash on a Man

Mortality rates for DHF are usually less than 1% but can be as high as 5% if the disease is not treated in a timely manner.

There are four virus that cause dengue.  They are closely related.

Infection from one type is believed to cause life long immunity to that type of virus but only short term immunity from the other types.

I know one expat that developed dengue more than once.  It was worse the second time but both times were fairly severe for him.  He reported that it left him feeling weak for months.

This leads some laymen to think each subsequent infection is worse than the previous but I have found nothing to support that.

Many in the Philippines say a tea made from a common plant called Tawa-tawa helps cure the disease.

dengue fighting herb

Tawa-tawa is said to aid recovery from dengue fever.

I’ve seen some impressive sounding reports after people drink this tea.  However, it could be that the disease had merely run its course.

Should I get this virus, I will be sending someone out to find me some Tawa-tawa.  My Filipino friend tells me it is a wild weed that can be easily found.

As new figures come out or important information about dengue is known to me, I will post it here.

Dengue Alert 12/21/2010:

The Department of Health (DOH) 7 has recorded 14,639 dengue fever cases and 111 deaths related to dengue from Jan. 1 to Dec. 4, 2010. The case fatality rate (CFR) stands at 0.8 percent.  In 2009, the Regional Epidemiological and Surveillance Unit (Resu) listed 6,752 cases, 77 deaths and a CFR of 1.1 percent.

Dengue Entry 01/05/2011

LINGAYEN, Pangasinan : The Provincial Health Office (PHO) reported 1,431 dengue cases last year which is 10 percent higher compared to the 1,360 in 2009… the 10 dengue deaths last year was lower than the 16 recorded deaths for 2009

Dengue News 1/20/2011

” MANILA, Philippines : A dengue outbreak has been declared in Santiago City in Isabela province.

Dr. Edgar Ramonchito Bayang, assistant city health officer, said that a total of 19 cases have been recorded from January 1 to 14.

Bayang said that one of the patients died due to the dengue shock syndrome.”


Dengue News 01/27/2011

LAPU-LAPU CITY, Cebu, Philippines – After posting 15 cases, as documented by the latest data from the Regional Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance Unit (RESU) of the Department of Health (DoH) Central Visayas field office for the period January 1 to 22, this city now tops the number of dengue cases in the region. This city is followed by Mandaue City and Cebu City with nine cases each although the latter has one reported death, the only place to report a fatality from dengue.

From the Manila Bulletin

Dengue News 02/18/2011

The National Institute for health indicates that they are hopeful that a dengue vaccine will be developed soon.  They have several vaccines in the clinical trial stage.

There has been increased spending for the project.   $45 million was spent in 2010 up.  The spending in 2000 was $5 million.

Dengue Alert 03/03/2011

Dengue cases in Pangasinan province  are on the rise.  Pangasinan is located in Luzon and borders the west coast there.

The Department of Health has reported 157 confirmed cases and three deaths in the first two months of 2011.

Dengue Alert 03/20/2011

The virus hits home.  Our four year old spent two nights in the hospital last week with dengue that was threatening to become serious.  He had a low platelet count.  But quick intervention turned the situation around and he is back to bouncing around like a typical four year old.

Dengue News 03/25/2011

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) introduced an alternative solution  to address the alarming dengue situation with Ovicidal and Larvicidal mosquito trap, a low cost yet effective device designed to reduce the population of the dengue-carrying  Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes by attracting and killing their eggs.

DOST will distribute 200,000 kits of mosquito ovicidal-larvicidal trap to communities nationwide through its regional offices in cooperation with local government health personnel.

These traps are being distributed free via the DOST.  I’m a little confused though as they indicate four will be provided to every household under the “Nationwide anti-dengue campaign.”   I don’t know if that is a specific region or regions or if we can expect to get four at our home.  The total distribution is set at 200,000.

The traps show good old Filipino ingenuity that one can see all over the Philippines.  It consist of a small tin can that is painted black.  Includes evaporated milk and a lawanit board.   These are things that are irresistible to the mosquito.  The trap reduces breading.

I find it very ingenious and a good use of what I hope is recycled tin cans.

Dengue News — Catching Up

Recent Reports are that Dengue cases in Manila for the last three months have doubled that of the previous year.  The DOH has been warning not to get complacent and fears a huge outbreak is ripe for the making.

Recently I learned that Dengue is most common in suburban areas. This must be why DOH and other government officials constantly remind citizens to be vigilant in removing their breading grounds and to clean up the areas.

The CDC has issued a Dengue Out Break Alert

Dengue In The News May 2011

Davao is experiencing a drastic increase of the number of dengue cases.  Dengue cases are up 150% in that city.  I have a friend living in Davao.  He contracted dengue about a year ago.  He didn’t even know he had it until he went to the doctor for something else.  He said it was not bad at all.  It doesn’t always have to be severe and his case was not.

Dengue cases in Quezon City have increased by 241 percent, records from the city’s health department showed—a figure that Mayor Herbert Bautista said indicated that their disease-monitoring efforts have been effective.

Dengue in the News June 2011

Undersecretary of Health, Teodoro Herbosa announced this week that dengue cases in the Philippines is up 8% over last year.  It doesn’t seem to be getting as much press as it did last year. I had hoped that we would not see a repeat of 2010 but it appears it is even worse

Undersecretary of Health, Teodoro Herbosa

Dengue News June 11th 2011

A vaccine for dengue is showing much promise.  It has been tested on humans and so far, no adverse affects have been found. The vaccine has been shown to produce antibodies for the four types of dengue.

Good  and Bad Dengue News June 17th 2011

Back in March I made an entry about some new simple dengue traps the Philippine government was testing out.  The government reposts that the number of dengue cases are down by huge numbers in some areas and improvements in others:

In Northern Samar, there were Mosquito traps help fight dengue 74 cases of dengue in the same period last year compared with none or zero this year; while in Leyte, there were 190 cases last year compared with 3 this year.

However dengue cases in the Philippines are up significantly throughout the Philippines. The number of cases through May of this year is already 135% higher than it was through Sept. 25, 2010.

That has me wanting some of those dengue traps!

Dengue News 07/12/11

The Philippines Department of health has declared a dengue outbreak in Bantanes which is in North Central Luzon.  A bit north of Manila

It appears Itbayat has been the hardest hit with 286 cases.

The municipalities affected are Sabtang (63 cases), Basco (487 cases), Mahatao (18), Uyugan (47), and Itbayat (286).  There are another 60 cases reported in the province but outside cities.

The Red Cross is asking for blood donations. Those that are most ill sometimes require blood transfusions.  Most do not need this but it can be a matter of life or death for some.

Major Dengue In The Philippines News — Vaccine

A dengue vaccine has entered final test in the Philippines. It is being tested in Cebu and San Pablo.  Test are not expected to be completed until 2014.  However, the World Health Organization and the FDA could decide to put it on the fast tract and release it to the public sooner if no complications are found.

It has already been tested in Thailand and found to be effective and safe.  So far this year there have been about 27,000 people hospitalized in the Philippines and 127 have died from Dengue Fever.  In 2010 124,000 cases of dengue were reported in the Philippines.  Reports are that the number of cases has increased this year.

Dengue Update 08/04/2011

The DOH is reporting that 226 people have died from dengue in the last six months.

They also reported that there been almost 39,000 cases of confirmed dengue cases as of July 23, 2011

They also say the number of dengue cases is down this year. However, earlier there were reports that dengue had actually increased this year.  I think they are down as 2010 saw a major increase in dengue cases.  It is up to you though which report to believe!

Dengue in the Philippines  is still a threat and will be one for a long time to come.  Try to make sure that there are no breeding locations for mosquitoes around you home.  Use nets where you don’t have have air con.  Air con helps but nets might be a good secondary barrier. We have them for the kids but Jessie and I don’t.

Dengue Update 08/16/2011

The department of health is reporting that the number of dengue cases in Metro Manila is double that over last year.

El Dengue

For a bit of fun, I couldn’t resist adding this El Dengue Video.