MANILA - The Department of Health will "likely" declare a national dengue epidemic due to the alarming rise of cases of the mosquito-borne disease in several regions, its spokesperson said Tuesday.
Some 146,000 dengue cases have been recorded by the end of July, while 7 regions have reached the epidemic threshold: Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol, Western Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, and Northern Mindanao, according to Health Undersecretary Enrique Domingo.
The DOH is also monitoring Ilocos region, Central Visayas, and BARMM, which are "playing between alert level and epidemic level," he said.
Last month, the DOH raised a national dengue alert after 4 regions in the country showed dengue incidence in epidemic proportions.
Domingo said the department will issue the declaration once it "gets all the information" Monday.
"We say it’s an epidemic when half of the regions are affected. We call it a national epidemic and it makes it easier for us to mobilize resources," he told ANC's Early Edition.
Domingo said the mosquito-borne disease is likely to prevail until September.
"It’s definitely the water, especially now that we’re having rains. You have stagnant water, 2 to 3 days is enough for the life cycle of a mosquito," he said.
Domingo advised the public to visit the hospital if their fever lasts for more than 2 or 3 days.
The health official, meanwhile, said government's lifting of its ban on controversial vaccine Dengvaxia will not help resolve the dengue outbreak as it was "not an epidemic-response vaccine."
"If it was available then private doctors can give it to their patients, that will protect them from dengue later on. For the current outbreak it won’t be of much help," he said.
The government in late 2017 stopped the sale of Dengvaxia and its use in the immunization program for schoolchildren after drugmaker Sanofi admitted that it may trigger more severe symptoms if given to those who have not had dengue.
The Food and Drug Administration permanently revoked the certificate of product registration of Dengvaxia in February but Sanofi has appealed the revocation.