MALARIA and dengue are two mosquito-related fatal diseases that are being strictly monitored by the Department of Health (DOH) in Baguio City.

Dr. Alexei Marrero, Regional Dengue and Malaria Program coordinator of the Center for Health and Development (CHD-CAR), said malaria cases in the region is down by 62 percent in 2009 compared to 2008.

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This, he said, is due to the extensive campaign of the DOH, in coordination with its provincial health offices, local government units (LGUs) and other private partners.

"There have been no reported deaths, due to Malaria in 2009, thanks to the concerted effort of the National Government, LGUs and our private sector partner or donor like the United Nation's Global Fund and Pilipinas Shell," Dr. Marrero said.

“Though in the case of dengue, sad to say we are facing a different scenario," Marrero added.

According to Marrero, the health department in 2009 recorded 1,836 dengue cases, which is a 100-percent increase compared to the 916 cases recorded in 2008.

Kalinga posted the highest number of cases with 710 and all of the other provinces also reported an increase in dengue cases except Abra and Baguio City.

Of the total number of dengue cases, 40 are from Abra, 153, Apayao; 321, Baguio City; 224, Benguet; 241, Ifugao; 710, Kalinga; and 147 from Mountain Province.

Abra posted the highest percentage of decrease at 63 percent, while Baguio had a 14.6 percent decrease.

Marrrero also stressed that for 2009, the region posted four dengue outbreaks, one each in Kalinga and Ifugao and two in Apayao. In terms of death, the region also posted seven deaths in 2009 compared to the four deaths recorded in 2008.

Marrero informed that CHD-CAR will be launching its anti-dengue campaign as early as February in conjunction with climate change activities, in accordance with the President's directive.

He also urged the public to help with the DOH 4S anti-dengue campaign - Search and destroy Dengue mosquito breeding grounds, Self protection, Seek early treatment and Say no to discriminate fogging.

Add a fifth S, which is "surveillance", Marrero urged as people also need to be wary of what is happening around them.

"The problem we are facing is a responsibility of everybody," he added.

In a statement, CHD-CAR Director Dr. Myrna Cabotaje noted the increase in dengue cases in the region has something to do with climate change.

According to her, dengue cases usually rise during the rainy season (which starts in June) but due to climate change, rains in Cordillera are now whole year round. (Lito Dar)