2,332 dengue fever cases reported in Philippines this year

The Philippines Department of Health (DOH) today reported that a total of 2,332 dengue cases has been admitted to sentinel hospitals nationwide from January 1 to May 15 this year. There were sixteen deaths recorded.

Partial reports from the DOH National Epidemiology Center (NEC) indicate a 58% decrease in the number of cases this year compared with the same period last year.

The NEC report also revealed that the regions with the highest number of cases were the National Capital region (732 cases), Region 3 (307), Region 5 (268), and Region 7 (231). The ages of cases ranged from 1 month to 75 years old, with forty-six percent (535) of the cases belonging to the 1-9 years age group.

"This is dengue season once more and we enjoin the public to bring a person suspected to have dengue to the nearest hospital for an early diagnosis and rule out dengue hemorrhagic fever", Health Secretary Manuel Dayrit urged, adding that blood transfusion is a life-saving management for dengue hemorrhagic fever and hemophilia.

"Thus we are encouraging the public to donate blood to be ready for any need for a transfusion, specially if it is the children who will need it", Dayrit said.

Health officials also urged the continuous and regular blood donation by healthy volunteer donors to ensure blood safety and adequacy in the country. A sufficient supply of safe blood is one of the cornerstones of a good healthcare system, they said, aside from being a powerful tool in preventing disease transmission.

In a related development, the DOH joins the World Health Organization in its first global celebration of World Blood Donor Day and thanksgiving on June 14, Monday, for voluntary blood donors around the globe for donating blood freely without any reward.

The event, called World Blood Donor Day, will be launched in Johannesburg, South Africa where it boasts of a 100% voluntary blood donation. Its maiden year theme is "Blood, a gift for life. Thank you."

This day, aside from thanking voluntary blood donors, is expected to create more awareness of the importance of voluntary, unpaid blood donation and encourage more people to become regular donors,. June 14 has been selected by international agencies working for voluntary non-remunerated blood donation to honor Karl Landsteiner, the Nobel prize winner who discovered the ABO blood group system.

In the country, the DOH, with the Phil. National Red Cross and the Phil. Blood Coordinating Council, and the Blood Galloners' Club and other agencies, will be launching the National Blood Olympic Project among the youth. The local event carries the theme, "Salamat sa Handog Mong Dugo at Buhay" and will be launching the blood program mascots named Don and Donna.

The project aims to generate interest from the youth to participate in donating blood with similarities to an Olympic event: there will be a Gold, Silver, and Bronze awards. These will be awarded in events, aside from voluntary blood donation, cheering competition, poster-making, and jingle-writing.

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