Nearly half of all dengue deaths in the Philippines are children under nine years old
At least 300 children aged 5-9 have died in the recent Dengue outbreak in the Philippines, Save the Children said today, amid fears the epidemic could claim many more lives before it’s brought under control. In the first seven months of 2019, some 170,000 people were infected with the disease, killing 720 people – 42 percent were children between 5 and 9 years old. Compared to the same period in 2018, this year’s dengue caseload is 97 per cent higher. The virus is disproportionately affecting children and young people with a staggering 73 per cent of recorded cases under the age of 19.
Albert Muyot, ceo of Save the Children in the Philippines, said:
“Hundreds of children have sadly already died, we expect the numbers to rise. The rainy season started late and will continue this month, creating the perfect breeding ground for dengue mosquitoes.
“Children are particularly a vulnerable to the disease because their immune systems are weaker than adults and they tend to play outside where there’s less protection against the mosquitos. Schools in particular are a hotbed of dengue because many have open windows and lack mosquito repellents.
“It is extremely important that health authorities step up their information campaigns in schools, communities and other places where people come together, so people know what to do if they suspect dengue. Also, the government must step up their fumigation campaign to kill adult dengue mosquitoes in densely populated areas.
“In the Philippines, we are working with schools and communities to improve awareness on how to prevent infection. To save lives, children need extra protection. Wearing long sleeves and trousers is one of the simple measures to protect against being bitten. Early diagnosis is critical and we are raising awareness of those symptoms, like fever and body pain, and encouraging all parents to take their children to hospital immediately if they have concerns.
“Save the Children is referring child dengue cases to health centers in vulnerable communities in Navotas, Caloocan and Malabon as well as in conflict-affected provinces in Bangsamoro Automous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).”
Notes to editors:
- Dengue causes flu-like illness, including a sudden high fever coming in separate waves, pain behind the eyes, muscle, joint and bone pain, severe headache, and a skin rash with red spots.
- People with symptoms get ill between 4 to 7 days after a bite from an infected Aedes mosquito. The illness can become the fatal Severe Dengue, characterised by severe abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, convulsions, bruising, uncontrolled bleeding, and high fever which can last from 2 to 7 days.
- Complications can lead to circulatory system failure, shock, and death.
- There were 167,607 dengue cases between January-July 2019, up from 85,011 in the same period in 2018.
- Of the 167,607 recorded cases of dengue between January and July 2019, 121,942 were under the age of 19.
- On August 6th, the government declared a national dengue epidemic.