MANILA, Philippines (AP) -- 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% 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.