MANILA -- The entire Zamboanga Sibugay province was placed under a state of calamity due to a rise in the number of dengue cases, a health official said.
From January until last Saturday, the province tallied 2,885 dengue cases, a two thousandfold increase from the 126 cases recorded in the same period last year, said Dr. Joshua Brilliantes, assistant regional director of the Department of Health-Zamboanga.
A state of calamity declaration will allow local officials to tap emergency funds, which Brilliantes said could be used to intensify dengue prevention programs.
Ipil town had the most number of dengue cases at 653, followed by Diplahan, Buug, Payao, Roseller Lim, Kabasalan, Alicia, Titay, Naga and Siay, according to government data.
For the entire Zamboanga Peninsula, the DOH recorded 9,104 cases of dengue with 51 deaths this year alone.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III earlier this week raised a national dengue alert due to the rapidly-increasing number of cases of the mosquito-borne disease in several regions.
Under the alert, public hospitals, health centers, and local government units must be prepared with medicine, equipment and personnel to respond to dengue cases.
Dengue is the world's fastest-growing infectious disease, afflicting hundreds of millions of people worldwide. It causes half a million life-threatening infections and kills about 20,000 people, mostly children, annually.
Signs and symptoms of dengue include severe headache, pain behind the eyes, severe joint and muscle pain, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and skin rashes, according to the DOH.
The government in late 2017 stopped the sale of dengue vaccine Dengvaxia and its use in the state immunization drive after French maker, Sanofi, disclosed that it can trigger more severe symptoms for those who have not had dengue.
Immunization coverage in the country dropped to 40 percent in 2018, from an average 70 percent in recent years.