THE Health department in Western Visayas declared September 1 as ‘Dengue Day’ as part of the simultaneous campaign of the department with local government units against dengue.

Dr. Ariel Valencia, DOH regional director, said the declaration was agreed in a meeting Monday of the provincial health officers, city health officers, and chiefs of Department of Health (DOH) hospitals in the region.

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Per monitoring of the Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (Resu) of the DOH-Center for Health Development in Western Visayas, there were 10,026 dengue cases from January 1 to August 14 this year. The figure represents an increase of 237 percent compared to the same period in 2009.

Negros Occidental registered the most number of cases in the whole region with 3,064. Other provinces and cities reflected the following: Iloilo – 2,191; Capiz – 2,096; Bacolod City – 1,116; Iloilo City - 680; Aklan - 439; Guimaras – 247; and Antique - 193.

The provinces of Capiz and Iloilo have declared a state of calamity due to dengue fever while Guimaras is presently contemplating such declaration.

Valencia said it would be up to the concerned LGUs whether to follow the declaration now that they have the data. 

He added most LGUs have pro-active approaches in addressing dengue cases, as evidenced by the decrease in dengue cases, based on the latest weekly monitoring. 

Thirteen barangays, eight of them in the province, were identified as dengue hotspots in Western Visayas.

Due to their proximity to each other, another 136 barangays were also declared as dengue hotspot clustered areas because of the increasing number of cases.

The DOH and the LGUs agreed to subject these hotspots to fogging operations.

DOH Secretary Enrique Ona has ordered the mobilization of logistical support to the hospitals and LGUs by providing fluids and oral rehydration solutions.

To decongest hospitals, the health department is also eyeing the use of rural health units as venue for Complete Blood Count tests to be administered before patients are brought to hospitals.

Acknowledging the delay on results of the CBC, Valancia said dengue fast lane should be strengthened to accommodate testing and give immediate results to patients who underwent the blood exams.

Valencia also reiterated the importance of observing the 4 o’clock habit of cleaning the surroundings.

“We believe the clean-up is the primary strategy in determining the success of our campaign because we have to really search and destroy the breeding places of mosquitoes,” he added. 

Dengue is an acute infectious disease, manifested initially by fever. It is transmitted by a day-biting mosquito called Aedes Aegypti. (Teresa Ellera-Dulla)