MANILA - The number of dengue cases is expected to remain high up to December, an expert from the World Health Organization said on Sunday.
Gawrie Galappaththy, a WHO medical officer specializing in vector-borne parasitic diseases, said this is because rainy weather is seen extending up to December.
"When we analyzed past few years data in the Philippines, the trend is yes, it's going to be increasing this rainy season," Galappaththy said.
She said the 2 mosquito species that carry dengue breed during the rainy season.
Dengue cases have risen to around 208,000 in the first 8 months of this year, double that of the number of cases during the same period last year.
Around 800 have been confirmed to have died due to dengue-related complications.
The health crisis has led to calls to allow the private health sector to use the banned Dengvaxia vaccine.
Galappaththy also noted that dengue has a higher fatality rate of 0.42 percent in the Philippines compared to its neighbors in the region.
She advised families who have members suspected of having dengue need to go to the hospital immediately to get their loved one tested for the virus.
Parents of children who may have dengue need to be vigilant, and should not wait until children show severe symptoms, Galappaththy said.
The WHO expert, however, noted that hospitals across the country are already stretched in terms of resources amid the dengue epidemic.
She said that barangay health workers will need to further step up to check the spread of dengue.
"But I have to emphasize we need to strengthen the health education to the community and we have to retrain, strengthen, upgrade the knowledge of barangay health workers."