Eradication of dengue ‘impossible’

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Friday, July 11, 2014


THE Department of Health (DOH-10) Northern Mindanao admitted that the dengue virus is impossible to defeat, with to the intermittent cases per month and the widespread propagation of its carrier, the Aedes aegypti mosquito.

“It is difficult to eradicate dengue. It has been going on for years but there are still cases of death from the virus because we do not have a cure for it yet,” said Ivan Rubio, the Regional Epidemiology Surveillance and Disaster Response Unit (Resdru) of DOH-Northern Mindanao, on Thursday.

From January to July 2014, 12 deaths have been recorded in the region, four of these from Cagayan de Oro.

Compared to last year, dengue cases and even death cases caused by the virus has increased this year.

Dr. Joey Retuya, Assistant health officer of City Health Office (CHO), said the occurrence of higher tally of dengue cases is every two to three years.

“Ever since dengue outbreak has started, there is already a trend when higher cases are recorded. That is every two to three years. As to why, there have been no studies on it yet,” Retuya said.

For the six-month cumulative data of 2014 in contrast to 2013’s report, he said that CHO is going to expect a higher number of cases this year hitting 903 as of July 2, 2014, as compared to 504 last year.

“That is about significantly 60 percent increase from last year’s,” he said.

Most of the affected ones are those aged 5 to 9, he added.

Power is in the people

The CHO believes the widespread cases of death due to dengue will worsen if people will not care.

Dengue virus is caused by vector population of the mosquitoes, he added.

A specific mosquito called Aedis aegypti is said to transmit the virus from one human to another.

“As part of their characteristics, they are low-flying. Meaning they are capable of biting the legs only. Prior to sunrise and after sunset is their peak biting hours,” Retuya said.

Rubio added that mosquitoes are now more aggressive than before.

“Usually, they reproduce in clean, stagnant waters. Now, they thrive [in] canal waters,” he said.

DOH and CHO continually conduct their campaigns on the 4s: Seek and destroy temporary breeding places; seek early consultation if one doubts to have the virus; self-protection measures; and saying no to indiscriminate fogging because of its plentiful disadvantages such as its inefficiency.

He said some mosquitoes will carry levels 1 to 4 dengue virus.

Level 4 is categorized as the Dengue Shock Syndrome where bleeding is frequent. However, such cases are rare, Rubio said.

“If you got a level 1 dengue virus in your system and you were able to recover from it, there is a big possibility that you can still acquire levels 2, 3 and 4,” he added.

Only symptomatic treatments can prevent death caused by this vector-borne disease, he said.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on July 11, 2014.

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