IN LESS than six months this year, the dengue cases in Central Visayas outpaced by sixfold the cases that the region recorded from January to December in 2021.

This after the Department of Health (DOH) regional office reported 6,399 cases with 47 deaths from Jan. 1 to June 18, 2022. Last year, Central Visayas only saw 942 dengue cases with five deaths.

Despite the increasing number of cases in the past months, not a single local government unit (LGU) has declared an outbreak, according to Dr. Ronald Jarvik Buscato, head of the National Aedes-Borne Viral Diseases Prevention and Control Program.

The DOH first issued an alarm over the rising dengue cases in the region during the first quarter of 2022, and Buscato said the LGUs have so far responded so well.

Buscato assured the public that the DOH has continued its close coordination with LGUs and monitoring of reported cases of the mosquito-borne illness to respond to any situation.

As for the case fatality rate (CFR), Buscato said the current CFR hit 0.7 percent, which was still “well below” the target of 0.9 percent for the current year.

Most of the cases were reported in highly urbanized cities in Central Visayas, with Cebu City topping the list with 1,363 cases and 17 deaths, followed by Lapu-Lapu City with 982 cases and eight deaths, and Mandaue City with 396 cases and two deaths.

Fourth on the list was Talisay City with 332 cases and three deaths, followed by Minglanilla with 216 reported cases and three deaths.

Buscato said the dengue cases affected “both male and female are equally affected.” In terms of age group, the health official said the most affected were children six to 10 years old, followed by those 11 to 15 years old, and one to five years old.

“So these are the vulnerable age population nato nga kinahanglan nato nga mabantayan (that we must closely monitor),” he said.

Meetings

For her part, Dr. Eugenia Mercedes Cañal, cluster head of the Regional Epidemiological Surveillance Unit-Central Visayas (Resu 7), said the DOH regional office has already conducted a series of meetings with LGUs, and they have already extended the necessary technical support and assistance to the different provinces and municipalities in Central Visayas.

Dengue, according to the DOH, is the fastest spreading vector-borne disease in the world that is endemic in 100 countries. It causes high fever and flu-like symptoms in mild cases, while in severe cases, symptoms include serious bleeding, a sudden drop in blood pressure (shock) and death.

It has also four serotypes, in which the first infection with one of the four serotypes usually is non-severe or asymptomatic, while the second infection with one of other serotypes may cause severe dengue.

The disease has so far no treatment, but the disease can be managed early. A person contracts the disease if bitten by Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes.

The DOH has called on the public to prevent dengue by implementing the enhanced 4-S strategy in their households: Search and destroy mosquito-breeding sites; Self-protection measures like wearing long pants and long sleeved shirts and daily use of mosquito repellent; Seek early consultation; and Support fogging/spraying only in hotspot areas where increase in cases is registered for two consecutive weeks to prevent an impending outbreak.