Flu, dengue, typhoid fever most prevalent this summer

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Friday, May 9, 2014


INFLUENZA, dengue, and typhoid fever were named the most reported communicable disease cases in Northern Mindanao region last month, the Department of Health in region (DOH-10) announced.

The DOH-10’s Regional Epidemiology Surveillance and Disaster Response Unit (Resdru), in its monthly disease surveillance report, recorded 783 cases of flu and 322 cases of dengue, in April.

There are also 268 suspected cases of typhoid fever, meaning symptoms of the said disease are visible to the patients, but still with no official laboratory findings.

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The cases of flu rose to 135.13 percent higher this April than last summer, which recorded 333 cases.

Dengue, all-year round

Dengue cases also rose to 15.83 percent higher, compared to last year’s April with 278. Most cases this year came from Misamis Oriental with 166, and Misamis Occidental with 78.

No reported deaths due to dengue were reported this month, however.

Dengue, a vector-born disease or is brought by a carrier, is prevalent all-year round, as misconceived by many to be only during rainy season, said Gemma Uy, DOH-10 regional entomologist.

Uy said the prevalence of dengue is due to the climate change, where the temperature has already risen.

Though the peak for the dengue season is during the rainy days, “mosquitoes mature faster because of the warmer weather,” she said.

She added that during the brownouts, people tend to stock water and mosquitoes lay their eggs on the reserved waters, thereby giving more places for mosquitoes to breed.

Dengue is caused primarily by the bites of an Aedes aegypti mosquito that breeds in stagnant clear water and matures in seven to nine days.

The malaria-carrying mosquitoes, however, breed in brackish, flowing water, usually in the mountains and coasts.

Zero malaria in 3 years

However, there have been no reports of malaria in three years, Uy said.

Mosquitoes breed faster in hot seasons because of the incubation effect to the eggs. However, they can no longer breed when the temperature reaches above 40 degrees or lower than 10 degrees.

Uy also noted that mosquito eggs can still live and hatch even if the waters they are born to have dried up.

DOH-10 have already installed various vector controls such as insecticide-treated screens in schools which costs about P7,400 per roll where each roll is about 25 meters long.

The health department also makes use of the ‘larvicide’ that will eliminate mosquito larvae, and ‘adulticide,’ for adult mosquitoes.

The ‘four o’clock’ habit of fogging the house to kill mosquitoes has been changed due to the clean air act and now encourages the ‘search and destroy’ where people should do away with possible breeding sites for mosquitoes, especially those that can hold water for up to seven days like bottles, tires, cans, and pails.

Trainings for the rural sanitation inspectors (RSI) from local government units have also been conducted where the RSIs are bound to train their constituents, Uy said.

Information and education campaigns are ongoing where campaigns like the 4S to fight dengue are taught: Search and destroy; seek immediate consultation, where it is encouraged to immediately see a doctor at the first signs of dengue; say yes to fogging on places where dengue becomes epidemic; and self-protection measures where people are encouraged to wear long sleeves and put on mosquito repellants.

June will be the Dengue Awareness Month.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on May 09, 2014.

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