PROVINCIAL Health Officer Dr. Ernell Tumimbang warned the public on Wednesday of the circulation of the four strains of the dengue virus in Negros Occidental province.

The Department of Health also confirmed the presence of the four different strains, based on blood samples collected from dengue patients.

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Tumimbang said with the circulation of the four strains of dengue - types 1, 2, 3, and 4, a person who recovered from one type of dengue virus is not immune to the other types.

“The second attack is more severe,” Tumimbang added.

The increase in the number of strains contributed to the rise in dengue cases this year, he added.

However, Tumimbang admitted that the province has no capability yet to determine the strains because the equipment needed for the examination is very costly.

Meanwhile, Board Member Melvin Ibañez, chairman of the Provincial Dengue Task Force, emphasized on Wednesday’s dengue summit that prevention is still the most important thing to do to fight dengue.

Wednesday’s summit was attended by some mayors of the towns and cities in the province, city and municipal health officers and other stakeholders.

Ybañez hoped that the local government units will immediately take the appropriate measures after they were made aware of the dengue situation in their respective areas.

The provincial health has been emphasizing the preventive measures to take to avoid dengue. These include the removal of stagnant water where dengue-bearing mosquitoes might breed within the house and in the surrounding areas.

There is still no cure for dengue up to now. Treatments are only support therapies to help the patient survive the dengue attack.

Tumimbang confirmed that based on their latest monitoring there is still an increase in dengue cases in the province. The PHO already identified 21 barangays and eight towns and cities in the province as within the dengue outbreak level because of the continuous increase of dengue cases.

Records of the Department of Health National Epidemiology Center showed that from January 1 to August 14 this year, 54,659 dengue cases were recorded nationwide, which represents a 74.9 percent increase compared to the 31,248 cases reported during the same period in 2009.

From January to August, the DOH recorded 429 deaths from dengue, while 327 deaths were recorded during the same period last year.

Seventy percent of the patients infected were aged one to 20 years old. The oldest infected was 95. (TED)