THE Department of Health (DOH) has recorded over 23,000 cases of dengue in the country in the first three months of the year.

According to the DOH–Dengue Surveillance Report, a total of 23,615 dengue cases have been reported nationwide from January 1 to March 30.

"The figure is 0.24 percent lower compared to the same period last year, which is at 23,672," said the report.

There are also 104 deaths recorded by the health department, which is lower by 40 cases recorded during the same period last year.

Majority of the dengue cases were found in Central Visayas with 3,759; Calabarzon with 3,079; Davao Region with 2,249; Western Visayas with 2,050; and Metro Manila with 2,009.

In Metro Manila, the City of Manila had the most cases at 338; followed by Quezon City, 322; Caloocan City, 216; Pasig City, 141; and Parañaque City with 128.

Because of this, the DOH has launched its "4-o clock habit" anti-dengue strategy in a bid to fight the mosquito-borne disease.

"The DOH can never be complacent towards our campaign against dengue even with the decrease in cases and deaths. This urges us to intensify more our efforts to control dengue," Health Secretary Enrique Ona said in a statement.

Under the program, the DOH is calling on the public to stop every 4 p.m. to look inside and outside the house to search and destroy possible mosquito breeding places; always listening to the barangay officials about the dengue status in their respective communities and barangays; and joining the "Aksyon Barangay Kontra Dengue" activity.

"Through this renewed strategy and the cooperation of everyone in the community, we are confident that dengue cases will be controlled and further reduced,” Ona said. (HDT/Sunnex)