More than 1,000 people have died from dengue in the Philippines in the first eight months of the year, the health department said Tuesday.
Nearly 40 per cent of the 1,021 victims who died from the disease between January 1 and August 24 were children aged 5 years to 9 years old, the Department of Health said.
The death toll was almost double the 622 deaths recorded in the same period last year, it added.
A total of 249,332 dengue cases were reported from January to August, compared to 119,224 in the same eight months in 2018, the department said.
Last month, the Philippines declared a national dengue epidemic amid a surge in the number of cases.
Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo said the epidemic was not yet under control even though the rate of increase in the number of cases has slowed down since August.
‘As long as there is community transmission, we can't say it's under control,’ he said. ‘We have to be on guard against dengue until the end of the year.’ Domingo stressed that the public cannot be complacent in efforts to keep eliminate breeding sites of mosquitoes, which carry the disease.
‘We understand that it could sometimes be tiring,’ he said. ‘Even we would sometimes feel that. But the threat of dengue continues so we have to scale up the effort.’
The increase in dengue cases comes two years after the government stopped a mass immunization programme using the vaccine Dengvaxia, manufactured by French firm Sanofi Pasteur, due to safety concerns.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) revoked the registration of the vaccine Dengvaxia in February.
Dengvaxia was given to about 830,000 children in the Philippines in the world's first mass vaccination using the new drug from April 2016 to December 2017.
The programme was stopped after Sanofi Pasteur disclosed that a long-term follow-up study showed children who had not previously been infected by dengue might be at risk of contracting a more dangerous infection if given Dengvaxia.
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