DENGUE cases in Cagayan de Oro from January to July this year has reached 788, with seven deaths compared with last year's 394 cases.

City Councilor Dante Pajo, chair of the City Council committee on health and sanitation, said most of the admitted patients were from Barangays Carmen, Kauswagan, Gusa, Balulang and Patag.

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Pajo said sanitary inspectors are now busy monitoring these areas.

"We have already tapped all barangay health workers and coordinated with City Health Office head Dr. Jerry Calingasan to have a massive information drive in every barangay on dengue prevention," Pajo said.

He said the health workers will conduct lectures on how to get rid of dengue carrying mosquitoes, putting emphasis on sanitation.

"If symptoms of dengue like fever occur, even if it is still two days, don't hesitate to go directly to the hospital and have your patients check their complete blood count to determine if it's dengue," Pajo said.

The bottom line, according to Pajo, is for the people to clean their surroundings to avoid getting infected with dengue.

Meanwhile, a professor said an environmental approach resorting to proper environmental and solid waste management should be made to control the spread of dengue.

Prof. Danilo C. Mero of the College of Forestry and Environmental Studies of Mindanao State University (MSU) said: "Environmental management seeks to change the environment in order to prevent or minimize vector propagation and human contact with the vector-pathogen by destroying, altering, removing or recycling non-essential containers that provide larval habitats."

Mero graced the launching of Never On Waste-Drive Against Dengue campaign in Marawi City recently.

There are three types of environmental management actions to control immature stages of Aedes aegypti, said Mero.

First is environmental modification which involves long-lasting physical transformations to reduce vector larval habitats such as installation of a reliable piped water supply to communities, including household connections.

"Improvement in, and maintenance of, urban infrastructure and basic services contribute to the reduction in larval habitats since large Aedes aegypti populations are often associated with poor water supply and inadequate sanitation and waste disposal services," Mero said.

The second type is environmental manipulation, which relates to temporary changes to vector habitats involving the management of "essential" containers such as frequent emptying and cleaning by scrubbing of water-storage vessels, flower vases and desert room coolers; cleaning of gutters; sheltering stored tires from rainfall; recycling or proper disposal of discarded containers and tires; and management or removal from the vicinity of homes of plants such as ornamental or wild bromeliads that collect water in the leaf axils.

The third type refers to changes to human habitation or behavior, involving actions to reduce human-vector contact such as installing mosquito screening on windows, doors and other entry points and using mosquito nets while sleeping during daytime.

"Proper storage, collection and disposal of waste are essential for protecting public health," he said.

He added that a reliable and regular street cleansing system that removes discarded water-bearing containers and cleans drains to ensure they do not become stagnant and breed mosquitoes will both help reduce the larval habitats. (Nicole J. Managbanag/with PIA)