NEGROS Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. told the chief executives of eight towns and cities whose number of dengue cases is already within the outbreak level to take drastic measures to address the problem.

Dr. Ernell Tumimbang, officer-in-charge of the Provincial Health Office (PHO), identified the "dengue hotspot" barangays as Catabla, Bubog, Matab-ang and Dos Hermanas in Talisay City; Lopez Jaena and Blumentritt in Murcia; Carabalan, Aguisan, Zone 4 and Suay in Himamaylan; Zone 5 and Zone 6 in Pulupandan; Zone 2, Luna and Banquerohan in Cadiz City; Tagda in Hinigaran; Guinhalaran, Lantad, Mambulac and E. Lopez in Silay City; and Ma-ao in Bago City.

Dengue cases in these areas have been steadily increasing for the past four weeks, Tumimbang noted.

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"It would depend on the respective mayors to declare these barangays under the state of calamity or an outbreak so that they could use their calamity funds to mitigate the cases," Tumimbang said.

He advised the respective town and city health officers of the clustered areas to discuss with their mayors about the drastic measures to be taken to address the problem.

Tumimbang added that his office does not want to recommend an outbreak or calamity because he does not want to preempt the decision of the mayors.

Latest records at the PHO showed that 20 Negrenses died of dengue while the number of cases went up to 2,872 for the period of January to August 7 this year, compared to only 671 cases with 13 recorded fatalities during the same period last year.

Meanwhile, the latest victim of dengue was identified as Jeric Ugaban of Barangay Tiglawigan, Cadiz City.

Himamaylan City had the highest number of fatalities with five deaths while the cities of Talisay, Silay, Kabankalan and Cadiz City reported two dengue fatalities each. Murcia, Toboso, La Carlota, Calatrava, San Carlos, Bago and Sipalay each had one dengue fatality.

Areas with the most number of dengue cases are Silay - 358; Himamaylan - 295; Talisay - 273; Cadiz - 230; Kabankalan - 191; La Carlota -162; Sagay - 125; Victorias - 117; Hinigaran - 112 and Bago - 104. (TED)