WITH more than 850 dengue cases recorded, the Digos City health office said the epidemic remains despite series of fogging operations conducted in the area.

During the visit of Health Secretary Enrique Ona in Barangay Tres de Mayo, City Health Officer Milagros Sunga said the surge of cases in the past two months simply prove that there is a dengue epidemic.

"We already have 852 cases from January 1 to July 31. In the last two months, specifically, we had 273 in June and 363 in July," related Sunga. "We are still in an epidemic level."

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The period is 704 cases higher than the figure recorded during the same period last year, which only stood at 148.

Sunga also related that laboratory tests of 57 blood samples sent to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Muntinlupa City showed that all the four strains of the dengue virus are present in the area.

She said most of the cases were rooted in the residential areas and not in schools although the most common victims have an age range of 5 to 14 years old.

In early July, the Provincial Government of Davao del Sur had declared a state of calamity in the province due to the continuous increase in dengue cases.

The declaration enabled the local government to use its calamity fund to combat the disease.

Sunga said she has already asked the provincial government a P1.8 million budget for the combat operations against dengue in the city from July to December this year.

The same surge was also seen on the national level as the DOH reported that the total dengue cases recorded in the country now stands at 40,648 during the same period.

"The figure is 48 percent higher than last year's 27,473 cases for the same period," said the Department of Health (DOH).

According to Ona, the rise in the number of cases could still be attributed to the recently-concluded El Nino phenomenon as well as the prevailing rainy season.

But Sunga said they are hoping that the counter-actions implemented by the local health unit would help in the significant decrease in the number of dengue cases.

She said they have already employed systematic fogging, larvicides and clean-up drives in a bid to prevent the further spread of the disease.

"Hopefully, itong 30 cases that we recorded during the first week of August would continue. Kapag nagtuloy iyan, hopefully, we can say na contained na ang situation dito."

Sunga cited as an example the month of July saw an average of 98 cases a week.

Aside from Digos City, the DOH disclosed that outbreaks were also detected in the municipality of Gasan in Marinduque as well as in the village of Banica in Lawaan town in Roxas City, Capiz. (AMN/Sunnex)