July 16 (UPI) -- More than 450 people have died in the Philippines of dengue, a viral disease that has affected a region of more than 20 million people.
Philippine health authorities this week issued a "national dengue alert" as cases have nearly doubled from same time last year, CNN reported Tuesday.
About 100,000 dengue cases have been reported in the Philippines in the first six months of 2019, up 85 percent from 2018, according to the report.
Regions affected include Mimaropa, Western Visayas, Central Visayas and Northern Mindanao, regions home to 20 percent of the country's population.
Dengue induces fever in patients, and is a mosquito-borne viral infection. The disease includes symptoms similar to the flu: painful headaches, muscle and joint pain and full body rashes.
The World Health Organization says about half a million people, out of the "millions" infected with dengue worldwide, require hospitalization. About 12,500 people die annually from the disease.
Climate change could be responsible for the rise in dengue cases in countries like the Philippines, India and Brazil.
In addition to dengue, diseases like chikungunya, yellow fever and Zika have moved north as temperatures rise in the southern United States, inland Australia and coastal China and Japan, according to CNN.
Rappler reported the national alert in the Philippines came on Monday. Other regions, including Muslim Mindanao have been designated as regions that have exceeded the alert threshold.