MANILA, Philippines – Climate change could be one of the reasons behind the alarming rise in the number of dengue cases in the country, a health official said Saturday.
Dr. Eric Tayag, head of the Department of Health’s (DOH) National Epidemiology Center, said mosquitoes carrying the dengue virus now have more areas to breed.
He said rapid urbanization and overpopulation also contribute to the outbreak in several areas around the country.
Tayag explained that mosquitoes breed either in stagnant water or inside containers where people store water.
The insects also thrive in flood waters.
The DOH has recorded 69,594 dengue cases across the country from January to August 28 this year.
It is the largest number of dengue cases in a single year, the DOH said.
Tayag told radio dzMM that 501 people, mostly children, have died from the illness. In 2009, there were 369 deaths.
Most of the dengue cases were recorded in Western Visayas, Southern Luzon, Central and Eastern Mindanao, and Metro Manila.
Tagayag said dengue cases are rising in Metro Manila while the provinces are seeing a decrease.
He said DOH tests detected 3 different dengue strains that are now causing havoc in affected areas. – with a report from Abner Mercado, ABS-CBN News