FOUR regions, including three in Mindanao, were found to have increasing cases of diphtheria.
Data from the Department of Health (DOH) showed that Bicol, Davao, Soccsksargen, and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Armm) have sharp increase in cases of diphtheria as of November 17.
Soccsksargen had the highest increase with 200 percent (1 in 2017 to 3 in 2018), followed by Bicol with 167 percent (3 to 8), while the Armm (6 to 12) and Davao Region (3 to 6) saw 100 percent increase each.
There were also a total of 11 deaths recorded in the four regions, with Armm and Bicol having four each, and Davao with three deaths.
Despite this, the DOH said there was an overall decrease in diphtheria cases nationwide.
From a total of 168 cases during the same period last year, there were only 147 diphtheria cases, for a 13 percent decrease.
The number of deaths also decreased from 41 last year to only 34 this year.
Earlier, Pediatric Infectious Disease Society of the Philippines president Dr. Anna Lim warned that aside from measles, the public should also brace for increase in cases of other vaccine-preventable diseases, such as diphtheria.
She said this is due to the continued lack of vaccine confidence in the country caused by the Dengvaxia controversy.
Diphtheria is an infection caused by the bacterium Corynebacterium diphtheriae and causes a thick covering in the back of the throat, which can lead to difficulty in breathing, heart failure, paralysis, and even death. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)