The Philippines has declared a “national dengue epidemic” after at least 622 people lost their lives from the mosquito-borne disease this year.
At least 146,000 cases were recorded from January to 20 July – a 98% increase on the same period last year – the health department said.
The epidemic was declared so that officials can identify areas in need of emergency attention.
The infection causes flu-like illness, but occasionally becomes more severe.
The global incidence of dengue has grown dramatically in recent decades, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
The Philippines declared an initial “national dengue alert” in July.
“It is important that a national epidemic be declared in these areas to identify where a localised response is needed, and to enable the local government units to use their Quick Response Fund to address the epidemic situation,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque said in a statement.
Western Visayas had the most recorded cases with more than 23,000, with significant outbreaks also in Calabarzon, the Zamboanga Peninsula and Northern Mindanao.