DENGUE cases in Negros Oriental dropped by 12 percent this year compared to 2009, a top Department of Health (DOH) official in Dumaguete City said.

Dr. Socrates Villamor, chief of the provincial epidemiology surveillance unit of the DOH, said 211 dengue cases were recorded from January to June 16, 2010 compared to 239 cases in the same period in 2009 with a decreased of 28 cases.

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He explained that the decreased of dengue cases is due to abnormal El Niño phenomenon and summer season.

He, however, stressed that two dengue-related deaths were reported this year.

There were also two deaths recorded in the same period last year.

A child from Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental died while being treated at the Negros Oriental Provincial Hospital on January while a girl from Sibulan also died of dengue fever on May this year.

Despite the reported decline in the number of dengue cases in the province, the DOH official expected the rising of dengue cases next month due to rainy season.

With this, Villamor appealed to residents to continue their practices against the mosquito dengue carrier.

Records show that in 2008, a total of 1,201 dengue cases were recorded in Negros Oriental, with six deaths, and in 2007, a total of 1,204 dengue cases with 10 deaths were reported.

Endemic

Villamor also reminded the residents of Dumaguete City that the dengue virus is endemic.

He said Dumaguete City is still among the top cities and towns in the province with a high number of dengue cases.

Dumaguete City ranked number one with a total of 54 cases reported from the first week of January to June 16, 2010, he said.

Sibulan town, on the other hand, ranked number two with 35 cases. Tanjay City ranked third on the list with 26 cases. The cities of Bais and Guihulngan ranked 4th with 13 cases each.

Based on study, school children are more vulnerable for dengue carrying mosquito. Urban areas are also more vulnerable than rural areas due to unclean canals that usually used as mosquito breeding places.

La Niña

Villamor also cited the onset of La Niña to be a factor that triggers the rapid increase of dengue-carrying mosquitoes.

La Niña followed after El Niño phenomenon.

He explained that the epidemic cycle of dengue virus occurs every three to four years of continues rainy seasons.

History shows that Negros Oriental experienced the highest number of dengue cases in 1998, 2001, and 2005.

In 1998, DOH declared an outbreak in Negros Oriental after recording almost 2,000 dengue cases and 28 deaths.

Appeal

Due to the apprehensions of possible increase of dengue cases next month, Villamor urged barangay officials to lead their constituents in the fight against dengue.

He also reminded residents to exercise the "Four S" against dengue.

He explained that the first S is to search and destroy mosquito-breeding sites.

Environmental sanitation activities, he said, such as clean-up drives are effective tools against dengue.

The second stands for self-protection measures, which include protective mosquito nets, insect repellent lotion, and window screens. The third S, he said, is to seek early treatment and the 4th S is to say no to indiscriminate fogging. (Victor L. Camion)