By Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) Updated August 25, 2010 12:00 AM Comments (0)
MANILA, Philippines - Four strains of dengue virus are circulating in many parts of the country, contributing to the rise in dengue cases this year, the Department of Health (DOH) said yesterday.
The presence of the strains was confirmed in the blood samples collected from dengue patients.
“It seems that all the strains are circulating in many parts of the country including the National Capital Region... It’s not the only reason for the increase but it is a factor,” said Dr. Lyndon Leesuy, DOH program manager for Dengue Control Program.
He said that if all four strains of dengue-types 1, 2, 3, and 4- are circulating, a person who recovered from one type of dengue virus is not immune to other types.
The records of the DOH National Epidemiology Center showed that from Jan. 1 to Aug. 14 this year, some 54, 659 dengue cases were recorded nationwide, 74.9 percent higher compared to the 31,248 cases reported during the same period in 2009.
From January to August, the DOH recorded 429 deaths from dengue, while 327 deaths were recorded during the sane period last year.
Seventy percent of the patients infected were aged one to 20 years old. The oldest infected was 95.
DOH also attributes the rise in the number of cases to the El Niño phenomenon that dried up most parts of the country from the second semester of 2009 until June.
During the almost yearlong drought, people stored water in containers, most of which are uncovered, making those breeding sites for the dengue carrying Aedes Aegypti mosquito.
Dengue is also common during the rainy season.
To increase awareness on dengue, DOH Secretary Enrique Ona and Education Secretary Bro. Armin Luistro visited the Rizal Elementary School in Tayuman, Tondo, Manila yesterday to educate students on ways to prevent the spread of dengue.
During the program, the two...