The Heat Is Online

Filipino Senator Raises Alarm about Climate-Driven Dengue Outbreak

Rising dengue cases alarming — Loren

Philippine Journal Online, April 4, 2011
Filipino senator Loren Legarda, worried over the reported rise in dengue cases as a  result of climate change, urged the Department of Health to improve its public health services and ensure early prevention and control of diseases.

Legarda, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Climate Change, said that according to a study, Climate Vulnerability Monitor 2010, it is not disasters but climate change related-diseases that cause the most number of deaths.

The DoH reported that as of February this year, around 13,830 people were admitted in hospitals for dengue. In Metro Manila alone, there were 3,640 dengue cases, a 106-percent increase compared to the same period last year.

“This rise in dengue cases is a cause for alarm, especially because our country is one of the most vulnerable to vector-borne diseases,” Legarda said.

The report that was conducted by the Development Assistance Research Associates also stated that although the Philippines’ climate and  location naturally assist in the proliferation of dengue, “higher temperatures and more humid climates caused by climate change favor the growth of insects and vectors that spread diseases.”

It added that about 350,000 people die each year due to major diseases and health disorders related to climate change. “Unless measures are taken, by 2030, climate change will increase its toll to more than 800,000 deaths per year,” the DARA report said.

“Now more than ever, it is of utmost importance that we put more effort into the prevention and control of climate-related diseases, and enhance the DoH’s capacity for early warning for any outbreak,” Legarda said.