Dengue cases up by 74 percent in Caraga region of Philippines

The Caraga region of the Philippines experienced a total of 396 suspected dengue cases between January 1 and February 23, a 74 percent increase compared to the same time period last year.

Gerna Manatad, the chief of the Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit of the Department of Health's Center for Health Development in Caraga, said that 55 percent of cases were males, 43 percent were between 10 years of age or younger and ages of cases ranged from one month old to 82 years of age. The dengue outbreak killed six people in total, the Philippine Information Agency reports.

Manatad said that dengue fever is caused by any of the four serotypes of dengue virus spread by the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquito. Mosquitoes breed in small collections of standing water, such as the water found in backyard garbage, flower vases and storage tanks. The mosquitoes tend to bite warmer skin, particularly the skin of people who are active or moving.

"This is the reason why the most affected population by dengue are those within the 0-10 years old age group since this age group are active (e.g. playing) that attract female Aedes," Manatad said, according to the Philippine Information Agency.

Manatad said the DOH is intensifying its efforts in the dengue program to reduce morbidity and mortality with a campaign focused on searching and destroying possible mosquito breeding sites, self-protection, seeking early consultation and saying no to indiscriminate fogging.

Manatad advised members of the Caraga community to be checked by a physician or healthcare worker for a fever lasting longer than two days, the Philippine Information Agency reports.