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Philippine health department raises alert against dengue fever

Deutsche Presse Agentur
Published: Sunday September 10, 2006

Manila- The Philippine health department on Sunday raised the alert against the dengue fever amid an outbreak in several communities in the capital and nearby areas. According to the department, 167 deaths and 13,468 cases of dengue have been recorded from January 1 to August 29 this year.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque said his department has started coordinating with local officials of affected areas to make sure that the outbreak does not worsen.

"The president has ordered me to keep dengue under control and make sure it does not reach epidemic proportions," he said.

Duque said the "search and destroy" approach was still the most effective way to fight dengue.

"This operation is inexpensive because it will only require the demolition of all possible mosquito breeding places that include old tires, coconut husks, roof gutters, discarded bottles, flower vases and all stagnant, clean water," he said.

The health department also urged parents not to gamble with their children's health by postponing visits to the doctor if their kids get a fever.

Eric Tayag, office in charge of the health department's National Epidemiology Center, said hospitals have been ordered to set up express lanes for patients suspected to have dengue.

"The express lanes will provide faster case management and treatment," he said. "All suspected cases should be brought immediately to the nearest health facility so they can be checked at once."

Dengue is a mosquito-borne disease that is endemic to the Philippines.

Its symptoms are high fever that could last from two to 10 days and headache accompanied by loss of appetite, vomiting, red skin rashes and abdominal pain.

© 2006 DPA - Deutsche Presse-Agenteur