Late response cause of higher dengue fatalities in Philippines

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Late response cause of higher dengue fatalities in Philippines

Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) – August 14, 2019 – 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Owing to late response to symptoms, more dengue patients are dying in the Philippines than in other Asian countries, the Department of Health (DOH) said yesterday.

In a press briefing, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III noted that while more dengue cases are being seen in other Asian countries, the Philippines’ case fatality rate (CFR) is higher. 

He added that the number of cases in the Philippines and Malaysia have already increased by 100 percent this year, compared to last year’s.  

On the other hand, Singapore, Lao PDR, Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia are registering a 300 to 400 percent increase in cases. 

“The Philippines continues to have the highest CFR. The response is late so we are urging everyone to be vigilant about the symptoms of dengue,” he said.

But Duque underscored that in dengue, the primary intervention is fluid rehydration and this is the reason why many patients are sent home when they come to hosptials.  

“We have triaging to help prioritize who among patients are in more serious manifestations of dengue,” said the health secretary. Less serious cases are told to go home and take Oral Rehydration Solution for sustained hydration.

Duque maintained that if a child is manifesting fever for two days, he should immediately be brought to a doctor for proper diagnosis and clinical management. 

“Early detection and proper management is very important for dengue to prevent complications. If you suspect your children to have dengue, bring them immediately to a doctor,” he added.

DOH data  show from Jan. 1 to July 27, there are 167,607 dengue cases in the Philippines. This includes 720 deaths, representing a CFR of 0.30 percent.

Amid calls to lift the ban on Dengvaxia–with President Duterte saying he is open to the return of the controversial vaccine pending input from local experts–Eule Bonganay, secretary general of children’s rights and welfare group, Salinlahi Alliance for Children’s Concerns, said the revival of the vaccination program is not the solution to address the current dengue epidemic.   – With Janvic Mateo