THE Zamboanga City Government declared a dengue outbreak effective Tuesday as the number of dengue cases continue to soar in the southern port city.

Data from the City Health Office showed that the total number of dengue cases from January to August had already reached 1,755 compared to 708 cases from the same period last year.

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The number of fatalities since January to August this year reached 20 compared to the eight deaths recorded in the same period last year.

“As of today (Tuesday), we already reached the outbreak level,” Zamboanga City Mayor Celso Lobregat said in a press conference at City Hall.

Ten villages, which are among the most populated areas in the city, have recorded the highest number of dengue cases since January to date, Lobregat noted.

“The more people you had in the barangay, chances are the more people will also get infected (with dengue),” Lobregat said.

Zamboanga City has a total of 98 villages with more than 700,000 population.

Dr. Rodel Agbulos, City Health Officer, said they have readied a two-pronged plan to eradicate if not bring down the number of dengue cases in the city.

Agbulos said the two-pronged approach is the curative and preventive measures.

Agbulos said they will tap the assistance of all the concerned government agencies including the Philippine National Red Cross-Zamboanga City chapter and hospitals as well as medical associations “on the management of dengue patients” for the curative approach.

Agbulos said fast lanes as well as rooms for dengue patients will be established in all of the local hospitals.

In the preventive aspect, Agbulos said they will intensify the search and destroy of the breeding places of mosquito dengue carriers.

“There will be simultaneous and citywide clean-up drive involving all sectors of the society,” Agbulos said citing the activity will be held at the end of this month.

He said the priority focus of the citywide clean-up drive is the 10 villages with highest number of dengue cases. (Bong Garcia)