THE Department of Health (DOH) said there is no indication of dengue outbreak in any barangays in Iloilo City amid reports that nine persons already died and 448 dengue cases were recorded in the city's hospitals.

DOH regional epidemiologist Dr. Glen Alonsabe said the monitored morbidity weeks from January 1 to August 7, 2010 already showed a downward trend in cases in the past two weeks as compared to the records in 2009.

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Earlier, Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog said the city is ready to be declared under a state of calamity should dengue cases continue to upsurge. The declaration, Mabilog said, is needed for the city to use a portion of its five percent calamity fund for the purchase of medicines and other needs.

Dr. Mae Delmo of the City Health Office (CHO) said the trend shows that the number of cases started to increase in the first week of July. In 2009, the number of cases started to increase in the first week of May, peaked in the last two weeks of June and decreased in the succeeding weeks.

The CHO also called for clustering of cases in the barangays to monitor and observe closely the dengue cases brought about by mosquito disease carrier's aedes aegypti and aedes albopictos.

The clustered cases include 22 cases in Barrio Obrero, Lapuz; nine cases in Barangay Sinikway, La Paz; and eight cases in Barangay Boulevard, Molo district.

The reported 448 dengue cases is 34 percent lower compared to the same period in 2009 with 659 cases. The nine deaths are also lower compared to 21 deaths in the same period in 2009.

Delmo said the fatalities are mostly children from three months to 54 years old. She added barangays mobilization with participation of barangay officials and other health volunteers is already being heightened in the affected areas.

But the DOH recommended only intensification of information, education and communication materials on the prevention and control, most especially the search and destroy strategy on mosquito breeding places.

The agency also recommended the improvement of environmental sanitation and mobilization clean-up of city residents of affected barangays. The DOH urged Iloilo's villages and towns to start community vigilance and strengthen surveillance. (LCP)