MANILA, Nov. 12 (PNA) — The Department of Health (DOH) disclosed Thursday that the total number of dengue cases in the country is now close to 125,000, marking an over 40 percent increase in the number of cases recorded as compared to the same period last year.

Based on recent nationwide data from the DOH’s Epidemiology Bureau (DOH-EB), a total of 124,728 dengue cases were recorded from January 1 to October 17 this year.

The said data show an increase of at least 40.3 percent increase in the number of dengue cases, as compared to figures in the same period last year with 88,898 cases.

Dengue is a disease characterized by sudden onset of high fever which may last from two to seven days, joint and muscle pain and pain behind the eyes, weakness, skin rashes, nose bleeding when fever starts to subside, abdominal pain, vomiting of coffee-colored matter, dark-colored stools, and difficulty in breathing.

The five regions with the highest number of dengue cases include Central Luzon with 21,462 cases from 8,597 in 2014; CALABARZON with 20,884 cases from 8,290; National Capital Region with 15,041 cases from 5,178; Ilocos Region with 10,331 cases from 5,139; and Cagayan Valley with 7,636 from 2,609.

All of these regions, except Cagayan Valley, have been recording the highest number of cases for months.

DOH spokesperson Dr. Lyndon Lee Suy has already called on the public to help the authorities in the fight against dengue.

“We appeal to the public, we cannot control dengue if we would not take responsibility. No matter how many interventions we do, fumigation for instance, we will continue to have a problem if you did not help us,” he stressed.

To highlight the campaign against dengue, the DOH along with the Department of Education (DepEd), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and local government units under the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) in October emphasized that community participation is important in protecting the children and community from the deadly disease.

Authorities said cleanliness is the key in preventing the disease during the installation of insecticide treated screens (ITS) in a public school in Marikina in October.

There are at least four (4) serotypes of dengue that can harm an individual in a lifetime, which means there is a tendency that an individual may suffer different types of dengue for four times in his/her life.

Considering such tendency, it is important especially for those in the vulnerable sectors especially who are in the “health compromised” category to be protected.

Anti-dengue vaccines are yet to be released in the market as manufacturers are still complying with the requirements on its production set by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Once released in the market, it is still uncertain whether the DOH will purchase the vaccine because of its expensive cost.

DOH Secretary Janette L. Garin said the government usually goes for “cost effective” vaccines which will help improve the health of the people in the long run. Leilani S. Junio /PNA