MANILA, Philippines, July 26 (UPI) -- At least 23 people, mostly children, have died of mosquito-borne dengue fever in the Philippines since the start of the year, health officials said.
Health officials in Zamboanga City say the disease, which has stricken 1,052 others in the same period, is a cause for alarm, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported Sunday.
"It has reached the alert level in Western Mindanao. The number of deaths is higher compared to 2008, during which we declared a dengue outbreak with eight deaths," Rodelin Agbulos said.
Officials have started a cleanup drive in the wake of a nearly 300 percent rise in dengue cases in some areas.
Common breeding sites of mosquitoes were old boats, bamboo posts, old motorcycle tires, shells and vegetation growth, the provincial health office said.
Community groups and residents were working to remove or clean up these possible breeding places of the Aedes aegypti, the day-breeding mosquito that causes dengue fever, the Inquirer reported.