AT LEAST two children already died of dengue in Salay town, Misamis Oriental this month, sending an alarm to health officials in the province.

Doctor Ignacio Moreno, provincial health officer, said the matter is alarming considering that the problem only lies on sanitation.

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Based on the monitoring conducted by the Provincial Dengue Task Force, the first dengue case recorded was a five-year-old girl from Barangay Kasulog who was confined at the Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC). She died of dengue on January 13.

Two days after, another five-year-old girl from Barangay Riverside-I also died at NMMC due to dengue infection.

Moreno cited that environmental sanitation in Barangays Kasulog and Riverside-I as the main reason for the cases.

But even with the two confirmed cases, Moreno said he had yet to get hold of the total number of dengue cases in the province for this month.

In 2009, the health office recorded at least 712 dengue cases with 19 deaths in the province. Among the towns and city in Misamis Oriental, Tagoloan has the highest number with five deaths last year followed by Jasaan with 82 cases but no death, Salay with 56 cases and four deaths, and Talisayan with 32 cases and three deaths.

Moreno cited open drums, pail, empty bottles and used tires as the top “breeding sites” of dengue-carrying mosquitoes.

During the Sangguniang Panlalawigan’s regular session on Monday, board member Jimmy Caiña passed a resolution urging all municipal chief executives in the province to intensify their campaign against dengue.

He said that there should be a regular clean-up drive in their respective area, including the “4 o’clock” habit on fogging as among the preventive measures against dengue-carrying mosquitoes.

However, Moreno said they discouraged fogging activities unless the residents would thoroughly clean their respective areas.

“Useless man gihapon, especially that fogging is not that effective in driving away dengue-carrying mosquitoes,” he said.

Moreno said the Provincial Health Office is continuing its advocacy on dengue in every municipality and even led clean-up drives to encourage residents to practice sanitation in their surroundings.

Dengue is transmitted by the bite of an Aedes mosquito infected with any one of the four dengue viruses. It usually affects infants, young children and adults.

Symptoms of dengue, which appear between three to 14 days after the infective bite, may range from a mild fever to incapacitating high fever with severe headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pain, and rash.

Sever complication of dengue is hemorrhagic fever, with patients suffering from fever, abdominal pain, vomiting and bleeding. It is a potentially lethal complication, affecting mainly children.

Earlier, Doctor Jose Llacuna of the Department of Health in Region X said there are no specific medicines for dengue.

However, he said it is important to maintain hydration while the patient is suffering from the disease.

“The patient should be given adequate fluids,” he said.

Llacuna also brushed aside the common belief that a herbal plant, “tawa-tawa,” can help treat patients with dengue.

He said the herbal plant’s effect, if there is any, might be on “hydration” since the patient is allowed to drink the water from the plant’s boiled roots. (With reports from Terry D.C. Betonio)