Philippines declares dengue outbreak an epidemic

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The Philippines' Department of Health has declared the country's outbreak of dengue to be a national epidemic.

The agency says Health Secretary Francisco Duque III made the declaration Tuesday to improve the response to the outbreak by allowing local governments to draw on a special Quick Response Fund.

It says the Philippines has recorded 146,062 cases of dengue from January through July 20 this year, 98 percent more than the same period in 2018. It says the outbreak has caused 622 deaths.

Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral infection found in tropical countries worldwide. It can cause joint pain, nausea, vomiting and a rash, and can cause breathing problems, hemorrhaging and organ failure in severe cases.

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