DESPITE the intensive information campaign and other anti-dengue measures implemented in Negros Occidental, the number of dengue cases in the province continues to rise.

Records from the Provincial Health Office (PHO) reveal that dengue cases from January 1 to August 14 this year rose to 3,448, compared to only 743 cases during the same period last year.

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This year-to-date figure represents an alarming 364% increase in dengue cases.

Most of the reported dengue-afflicted patients were already discharged and have already recovered, the PHO added.

Twenty dengue-caused deaths were recorded to date while only 13 deaths were registered during the same period last year.

The breakdown of the dengue fatalities per local government unit is as follows:

Himamaylan - 5; Murcia - 1; Sipalay City - 1; San Carlos City - 1; Silay City - 2; Talisay City - 2; La Carlota City - 1; Cadiz City - 2; Kabankalan City - 1; Calatrava - 1; Toboso - 1; Isabela - 1; and Bago City - 1.

The heightened information drive of the PHO resulted to the early detection of dengue cases in the province.

A rise in the number of cases usually starts a few days after the onset of the rainy season and the number soars two months after the peak of the rainfall.

During the rainy months, water collects in unlikely places which serve as the breeding ground for dengue-carrying mosquitoes.

The PHO conducted a study of the different cities and municipalities where incidents of dengue cases were rampant and the office distributed larvaecides to the affected local government units.

To control dengue, the PHO emphasizes the culture of cleanliness.

Regular cleaning of surroundings and trimming of vegetation where mosquitoes can hide and breed are urged. De-clogging of creeks as well as the strict compliance with the 4S and the 4 o'clock cleaning habit is earnestly encouraged by the PHO.

The PHO also encourages parents to immediately seek early diagnosis of fever thru the health centers to ensure speedy action on possible dengue cases. (Teresa Ellera-Dulla)