HEALTH officials in Central Visayas are urging the public to be vigilant in combating dengue cases.

This as the Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH 7) announced that dengue cases in the region have risen to 4,623 with deaths now at 38 from Jan. 1 to May 28, 2022.

Only 820 cases and four deaths were reported in the same period last year.

Dr. Ronald Jarvik B. Buscato, director for DOH 7’s National Aedes-Borne Viral Diseases Prevention and Control Program, told reporters on Tuesday, June 7, that majority of dengue cases and deaths were reported in the cities of Cebu, Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu, Talisay and the municipality of Minglanilla.

But Buscato clarified that while the current number of dengue cases is already a cause for concern, they consider it as a normal scenario since dengue cases often increase every three years.

Buscato added that the start of the rainy season could also contribute to more dengue cases.

Low fatality

Dr. Eugenia Mercedes R. Cañal of DOH 7’s Regional Epidemiological Surveillance Unit (Resu), said that while they are still tackling the increasing number of dengue cases in the region, she said they have achieved lowering the case fatality rate (CFR) in the region.

She said the DOH 7 has targeted the CFR to be at one percent or below. The current rate is at 0.8 percent. CFR is the proportion of individuals diagnosed with a certain disease but end up dying due to the sickness.

But both Buscato and Cañal emphasized that the region’s dengue situation could worsen if the public remains complacent.

Surveillance

Cañal also urged public officials to intensify dengue surveillance at the community level.

“It is actually the epidemic year (for dengue cases). As early as now, we see the rise in the number of cases. So it is high time to become vigilant,” Buscato said.

For her part, Cañal said: “We just have to intensify our surveillance for dengue cases especially in the community because most of our cases came from the hospital. There were individuals who got themselves tested but then they opted not be admitted because they only experienced mild symptoms.”

Cañal also urged those with early signs and symptoms of dengue to immediately seek medical intervention.

Buscato also reminded all the local government units to continue their anti-dengue activities and intervention program to minimize risk of an outbreak.

DOH 7 Director Dr. Jaime Bernadas urged the public to implement the 4S strategy in combating the dengue threat such as conducting search and destroy activities for potential breeding grounds; implementing self-protection measures against the dengue mosquito; seek early consultation for those experiencing signs and symptoms; and saying no to indiscriminate fogging.