A total of 1,247 people have died from dengue in the Philippines from Jan. 1 to Sept. 14 this year, up from 742 recorded in the same period of last year, according to the latest government data released on Friday.

The DOH said Western Visayas in the central Philippine recorded the highest number of deaths with 214 followed by Calabarzon region, 152 and Metro Manila, 122.

The DOH said that a total of 307,704 dengue cases have been recorded from Jan. 1 to Sept. 14 this year. The number of cases is way higher than the 142,783 cases recorded in the same period in 2018.

Children aged five to nine years were the most affected, the DOH added.

The DOH expects the dengue cases and the death toll to rise in the coming months as intermittent rain continues until October or November.

On Aug. 6, the Philippines declared the country's outbreak of dengue to be a national epidemic to improve the response to the outbreak by allowing local governments to draw on a special quick response fund.

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.

Dengue mosquitos breed in stagnant water like water-filled containers and some plants like bananas and bromeliad. The scarcity of water during the dry season and the intermittent rain that followed during the rainy season have resulted in dengue cases outbreak.

There is no specific treatment for dengue, but early detection and access to proper medical care lowers fatality rates below 1 percent.