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Expat Exchange - Dengue Virus in Philippines
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Borocay Island in The Philippines


Dengue Virus in Philippines

By Joshua Wood, LPC

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Summary: The Aedes mosquito, known for spreading the dengue virus, is found in Philippines. Being aware of dengue symptoms and taking steps to minimize mosquito bites are crucial for your health and safety in this area.

Dengue virus is a significant public health concern in the Philippines, a tropical country where the climate is conducive to the breeding of the Aedes mosquitoes, the primary vectors of the disease. This viral infection manifests in a range of symptoms and can have serious health implications. Understanding the nature of dengue, its prevalence, and prevention strategies is crucial, especially for those living in or traveling to the Philippines. This article delves into the various aspects of dengue disease, including its symptoms, the areas most affected, and the measures expatriates can take to protect themselves. It also addresses the contagiousness of the virus, its impact on different age groups, and what to do if one contracts dengue in the Philippines.

What is Dengue Disease?

Dengue disease is a viral infection caused by one of four dengue virus serotypes (DENV-1, DENV-2, DENV-3, and DENV-4). It is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito, primarily Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. Symptoms typically begin 4-10 days after the mosquito bite and can include high fever, severe headache, pain behind the eyes, joint and muscle pain, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, skin rash, and mild bleeding (such as nose or gum bleed, or easy bruising). While most people recover within a week or two, severe cases can develop into dengue hemorrhagic fever or dengue shock syndrome, which can be life-threatening. Long-lasting effects are rare but may include fatigue and depression. There is no specific treatment for dengue; care is mainly supportive.

Where is Dengue Most Prevalent in the Philippines?

Dengue is endemic in the Philippines, with cases reported year-round. However, the incidence tends to peak during the rainy season, from June to November, when mosquito breeding sites proliferate. The disease is most prevalent in densely populated urban areas and regions with poor sanitation. Regions such as the National Capital Region, Central Luzon, CALABARZON, and the Western Visayas are among the areas with high reported cases of dengue. The Department of Health (DOH) in the Philippines regularly monitors and reports on dengue hotspots, which can shift from year to year.

How do Expats in the Philippines Prevent Mosquito Bites?

Expatriates living in the Philippines can take several measures to prevent mosquito bites and reduce the risk of contracting dengue. These include using mosquito repellents containing DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus; wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants; and treating clothing and gear with permethrin. Additionally, expats should ensure that their living accommodations are fitted with window and door screens to keep mosquitoes out. Eliminating standing water around the home, which serves as mosquito breeding sites, is also crucial. Using mosquito nets while sleeping, especially during the day when Aedes mosquitoes are most active, can provide further protection.

What if I Get Dengue Virus in the Philippines?

If you suspect you have contracted dengue virus in the Philippines, it is essential to seek medical attention immediately. Early diagnosis and proper medical care can significantly improve the outcome. Treatment is primarily supportive and focuses on relieving symptoms. This may include hydration, pain relievers (avoiding aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, which can increase bleeding risk), and rest. In severe cases, hospitalization may be required to manage potential complications. The Philippines has a network of healthcare facilities capable of managing dengue, but it's important to have health insurance or sufficient funds to cover medical expenses.

Is Dengue Virus Contagious?

Dengue virus is not contagious and cannot spread directly from person to person. The only way to contract dengue is through the bite of an infected mosquito. However, an infected person can serve as a source of the virus for mosquitoes that bite them. These mosquitoes can then transmit the virus to other people, perpetuating the cycle of infection. Therefore, it is important for individuals with dengue to protect themselves from mosquito bites to prevent further spread of the disease.

Is Dengue Virus More Dangerous for Children, Elderly, or Immune-Compromised?

Dengue virus can be more dangerous for certain populations, such as children, the elderly, and individuals with compromised immune systems. Children, in particular, are at a higher risk of developing severe dengue, which can lead to serious complications and even death. The elderly and those with underlying health conditions may also experience more severe symptoms and complications due to their less robust immune systems. It is crucial for these vulnerable groups to take extra precautions to avoid mosquito bites and to seek medical care promptly if they exhibit symptoms of dengue.

In conclusion, dengue virus remains a significant health threat in the Philippines, with certain regions experiencing higher prevalence. Expatriates and residents alike must take proactive steps to prevent mosquito bites and stay informed about the risks and symptoms of dengue. While the disease is not contagious from person to person, it can be particularly dangerous for children, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems. Awareness, prevention, and timely medical intervention are key to combating the impact of dengue in the Philippines.

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.


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Borocay Island in The Philippines

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