(PNA photo by Joey O. Razon)

MANILA – Dengue cases in the country increased by 191 percent from Jan. 1 to Oct. 1 with three regions above the epidemic threshold, a health official said Friday.

In an online forum, Department of Health - Epidemiology Bureau Director Alethea de Guzman said the Philippines has logged 173,233 dengue cases so far -- higher than last year’s 59,514 for the same period.

The top three regions that have reached the epidemic threshold this year are Central Luzon with 34,347 cases; Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao with 3,335 cases; and Cordillera Administrative Region with 12,623 cases.

Around 54 percent of the total cases are 15 years old and below, while 57 percent had warning signs of dengue.

“Simula po ng Agosto, nandoon na po tayo sa ilalim ng epidemic threshold, so ito ay naging magandang senyales na 'yung ating mga naging intervention for dengue ay epektibo at nakakakita na tayo ng tuloy tuloy na reduction ng mga kaso (Starting August, we’re under the epidemic threshold, so this is a good sign that our intervention for dengue is effective and we can see continuous reduction of cases),” de Guzman said.

In the recent three to four weeks, there were only 11,939 cases recorded as they continue to decline in most regions except for Northern Mindanao, Davao Region, Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, and the National Capital Region (NCR) with seven to 14 percent growth rate.

De Guzman noted that the DOH is monitoring cases in Cagayan Valley, Davao Region, and the NCR because they are nearing the epidemic threshold.

“Meron din tayong (We also have) 52 areas, provinces, HUCs [highly urbanized cities], and ICCs [independent component cities] with positive growth rate in the recent three to four weeks,” she said.

These include Abra, Mountain Province, Batanes, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Santiago City, Angeles City, Zambales, Cavite, Lucena City, Marinduque, Palawan, Romblon, Sorsogon, Bohol, Cebu City, Mandaue City, Ormoc City, Southern Leyte, Zamboanga Sibugay, Bukidnon, Cagayan de Oro, Camiguin, Lanao del Norte, Misamis Occidental, Misamis Oriental, Davao City, Davao del Oro, Davao del Norte, Davao Oriental, Davao Occidental, General Santos City, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Sulu, Surigao del Sur, Caloocan City, Las Piñas City, Makati City, Mandaluyong, Manila City, Muntinlupa City, Parañaque City, Pasay City, Pasig City, Pateros, San Juan City, Taguig City, and Valenzuela City. (PNA)