The dengue season in the Philippines is officially over, after the infectious disease left 280 dead and 21,537 others infected, officials said on Thursday.
This was a bad year for dengue, local reports quoted Eric Tayag, chief government epidemiologist as saying, shortly after the Department of Health (DoH) released its final report on the virus' rampage this year.
Tayag attributed the steep rise in dengue infection to the fact that the Philippines was due for another increase in victims, based on dengue's pattern of attacking more viciously on a three-year cycle.
Tayag said most worrisome was this year's 1.3-percent case fatality ratio, or the relation of deaths to the total number of cases. He said only 0.8 percent was registered last year.
Tayag said more people would have been infected had it not been for the measures put up by the DoH, with "express lanes" in key hospitals set up to specifically deal with dengue cases.
A total of 21,817 people got sick with dengue between Jan. 1 and Oct. 2, when it was the dengue season, exceeding the 20,000 cases projected by the DoH.
Northern Mindanao was worst hit by dengue with 3,301 victims, 78 of whom died, while the capital Metro Manila came in third with 29 deaths out of 3,228 cases, according to the DoH report.
Dengue is an acute, infectious tropical disease caused by an arbovirus transmitted by mosquitoes, and characterized by high fever, rash, headache, and severe muscle and joint pain.
The worst dengue outburst in the Philippines recorded 40,000 cases in 1998.
(eastday.com October 14, 2005)