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Philippines’ DOH Prepares for Potential Rise in Respiratory Illnesses

Manila, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) has assured the public that measures are in place to address any potential increase in respiratory illness cases nationwide. This announcement comes in response to reports of a surge in respiratory illnesses in northern China. On Wednesday, the DOH emphasized that there is no cause for alarm, as the government remains vigilant in surveillance and information dissemination to ensure the safety of Filipinos.

According to Philippines News Agency, ongoing surveillance and reporting of influenza-like illnesses (ILI) in the Philippines show that cases have begun to plateau. However, the Epidemiology Bureau (EB) will continue to enhance ILI surveillance in coordination with the World Health Organization (WHO) and China. The WHO has been tracking the rise in influenza-like illnesses in China since mid-October and has observed clusters of undiagnosed pneumonia in children’s hospitals in certain areas of China this month.

The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC) and Beijing Children’s Hospital have reported that the recent increases in consultations and admissions are within expected levels based on historical data. They have also noted that these increases are not unusual following the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions. The rise in cases has been attributed to common infections such as mycoplasma pneumoniae, respiratory syncytial virus, adenovirus, and influenza. The China CDC confirmed that there have been no changes in the disease presentation and no unusual or new pathogens detected.

The WHO has advised that general preventive measures against respiratory diseases should be observed, and as of now, has not recommended specific measures for travelers or border control. The DOH is urging the public, especially children and the elderly, to remain vigilant and observe protective measures. These include voluntary masking, regular handwashing, isolating when ill, ensuring adequate ventilation, and getting vaccinated to prevent respiratory illnesses.