Health authorities declare 'national dengue alert' as infections soar in several regions
Pupils in a primary school in the northern Philippines install mosquito nets to prevent dengue-infected mosquitoes from entering their classroom. (File photo by Jojo Rinoza)
Catholic Church leaders in the Philippines have urged parishes nationwide to launch clean-up campaigns to prevent the spread of dengue fever.The Episcopal Commission on Health Care of the bishops' conference made the call as the government declared a "national dengue alert" on July 15. The Philippine Health Department says dengue cases are rising rapidly in several regions following the start of the rainy season. Asia are expected to rise with the arrival of the rainy season. In Thailand, a dengue hemorrhagic fever epidemic has been declared after 28,785 patients were infected, 43 of whom died. Vietnam recorded over 67,000 cases of dengue fever and three deaths in the first five months of the year, while Cambodia registered 12,000 cases with 21 deaths. Singapore had 5,184 dengue cases including five fatalities, while Malaysia recorded 59,615 cases, including 88 deaths. Dengue is one of the fastest-spreading mosquito-borne diseases. Worldwide, the incidence of dengue has increased 30-fold over the past 50 years. Of an estimated 2.5 billion people at risk from dengue globally, about 70 percent live in Asia Pacific countries, according to the World Health Organization.
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