DOH warns of dengue epidemic peaking in October

Published August 7, 2019, 9:23 PM

by Ellalyn De Vera & Richa Noriega

By Mario Casayuran

The Department of Health (DOH) warned Wednesday that the dengue epidemic might reach its peak by October with as much as 10,000 new cases breaking out a week.

Department of Health (MANILA BULLETIN)
Department of Health (MANILA BULLETIN)

Dr. Ferchito Avelino, DOH Epidemiology Bureau chief, told Senate reporters that the recorded dengue cases have reached 98 percent from January to July this year compared to the same period in 2018.

“By October, we are expecting a peak in the dengue cases as dengue-carrying mosquitoes will start biting,” he said.

Avelino appeared before the organizational meeting of the Senate health committee chaired by neophyte Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go.

He explained that October coincides with the month with the hatching of eggs of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes.

The current year is a “dengue year” as the dreaded disease spikes every three years, he said.

Avelino asked the public to observe the DOH’s “4S” campaign against dengue.

Senators Pia Cayetano and Risa Hontiveros also fielded their health-related questions during the meeting which was attended by other DOH officials headed by Undersecretary Mario C. Villaverde

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph G. Recto had said there might be a need to tap the emergency funds to help address rising dengue cases as resources from the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) might not be enough.

Recto said the actual number of dengue cases in the country during the first half of the year might be higher than what was reported by the DOH if the number of reimbursement claims filed before the PhilHealth is the basis.

“There is almost a 70,000 difference between the two with PhilHealth receiving 174,000 claims and the DOH reporting 106,630 cases from January to June of this year,’’ Recto said.

If we use the PhilHealth data, then the epidemic is graver than what is widely believed,” he said.

Recto said the number of dengue cases hit 251,258. The DOH, however, reported a lower figure of 216,190 cases.

Recto warned that it was only halfway through the year and PhilHealth already received 174,000 claims.

If the figures in the second half of the year follow the same trajectory, ‘’then we’re looking at more than 300,000 cases by the end of the year,’’ he said.