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Philippines declares dengue epidemic

August 6, 2019

Cases of dengue have nearly doubled so far this year compared to last year. The sharp spike came after the government stopped an immunization program.

Dengue ward in a hospital
Image: picture-alliance/PhotoshotR. Umali

The Philippines declared a national dengue epidemic on Tuesday in response to a spike in infections of the mosquito-borne virus.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the declaration would improve the response to the outbreak, which so far this year has caused 622 deaths.

Read more: Top 10 most dangerous viruses in the world

"It is important that a national epidemic be declared ... to identify where a localized response is needed and to enable the local government units to use their quick response fund to address the epidemic situation," he told a meeting of disaster management officials.

Climate change to help spread mosquito-born viruses

The Philippines has recorded 146,062 case of the tropical disease from January through July 20 this year, a more than 98% increase from the same period last year.

Read more: The most dangerous mosquito-borne diseases

The increase in cases comes two years after the government halted a mass immunization program using the vaccine Dengvaxia after the French pharmaceutical firm Sanofi Pasteur warned the vaccine could worsen the disease in some cases.

The Mosquito Factory

cw/rt (dpa, Reuters)

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