Doctors’ group concerned by rise in dengue, COVID-19 cases


The Philippine College of Physicians (PCP) on Wednesday said the rise in dengue cases and COVID-19 infections in the country are a cause for concern.

Interviewed on GMA News’ Balitanghali, PCP president Dr. Diana Payawal said that the persistently increasing number of the two diseases is alarming.

“Tayo ay nababahala kasi dumarami rin ang COVID-19 cases sa mga ospital, dumarami rin ang dengue sa ospital,” Payawal said.

(We are concerned because COVID-19 cases in hospitals are increasing, and dengue cases are also increasing.)

“Pero ito ay tatanggapin naming kasi, as I have mentioned, we are all ready for any eventualities at tayo ay na-train ng pandemya kung ano ang dapat gawin. Ang ating mga residente at hospital staff ay actually ready for any eventualities,” she added.

(But we will accept this because, as I have mentioned, we are all ready for any eventualities and we have been trained by the pandemic on what to do. Our residents and hospital staff are actually ready for any eventualities.)

Dengue and COVID-19 cases

On Tuesday, the Department of Health (DOH) said 82,597 dengue cases have been recorded in the country in the period from January 1 to July 16, a 106% increase from the number of reported cases in the same period last year.

DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said Region III had the most reported dengue cases with 13,449, followed by Region VII with 8,905 cases and the National Capital Region with 6,884 cases.

She said 10 out of 17 regions exceeded the epidemic threshold in the past four weeks, with Cagayan Valley, Mimaropa, and the Cordillera Administrative Region showing an increasing trend from June 19 to July 16.

Meanwhile, the health department has detected over 1,000 additional cases of the Omicron subvariant BA.5 in almost all regions.

Vergeire said that based on the latest genome sequencing results covering July 30 to August 1, a total of 1,015 BA.5 cases were seen in all regions except Zamboanga Peninsula and Northern Mindanao.

The number brings the total number of BA.5 cases in the country to 3,012.

The Philippines also recorded a total of 24,100 new COVID-19 cases from July 25 to July 31, 2022, which is 24% higher than the cases reported from the previous week.


Symptoms of dengue and COVID-19

Payawal said the public should be vigilant and aware of the symptoms of dengue and COVID-19.

“Both [illnesses] present with fever, so kung may lagnat kayo dapat ay hindi natin balewalain [if you have a fever, do not ignore it]. I think the key factor is to identify the patients early on,” she said.

According to the DOH, the symptoms of dengue include the sudden onset of fever for two to seven days, headache, body weakness, joint and muscle pains, pain behind the eyes, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, and skin rashes.

The World Health Organization (WHO), meanwhile, said the most common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, tiredness, and loss of taste or smell.

Sore throat, headache, aches and pains, diarrhea, rash on the skin, and red or irritated eyes are among the less common symptoms of COVID-19.

Monkeypox education drive

Further, Payawal said that they are conducting an education drive for health workers about monkeypox to prevent panic and misinformation.

“Most of our doctors now have undergone sessions and there are a lot of learning materials to identify monkeypox early on. Para naman huwag kayong matakot kasi ito ay malulunasan,” she said.

(Don't be afraid because it can be cured.)

The DOH earlier announced that the Philippines has already recorded its first case of monkeypox in a 31-year-old patient who arrived from abroad on July 19.

He tested positive for the virus on Thursday, July 28.

On July 23, WHO declared monkeypox as a "public health emergency of international concern,” the highest alarm it can sound. — BM, GMA News