Dengue cases in 8 regions on the rise

(UPDATED) HEALTH officials said dengue fever is on the rise in eight regions in the country, including Metro Manila.

The Department of Health (DOH) said 92,807 dengue cases have been recorded from January 1 to September 19. The figures are 23.5 percent higher compared to the 75,117 cases recorded in same period last year.

DOH said the 269 deaths reported so far are lower compared to the 316 deaths reported last year.

DOH–Epidemiology Bureau said increase in dengue cases were monitored in Cagayan Valley (176 percent); Cordillera Administrative Region (164 percent); Metro Manila (156 percent); Central Luzon (119 percent); Calabarzon (95 percent); Ilocos Region (91 percent); Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (41 percent); and Central Visayas (13 percent).

A state of emergency has been declared in Bulacan and Cavite last week due to high incidence of dengue cases in the two provinces.

Senator Nancy Binay has filed a resolution seeking an investigation on the rising number of reported dengue cases in the country.

"The health of our citizens is important so it should be given priority by the government. We need to find out how we can plug the holes and prevent from happening similar cases in the future," Binay said.

"It is important for the DOH to inform the public of the overall state of dengue outbreak in the country in order to fully address the situation and protect the health and lives of the people," Binay said.

The mosquito that carries the dengue virus breeds in clear, stagnant water usually collected in containers like tanks, flower vases, plant axils, and backyard litter, among others.

Symptoms include high fever from two to seven days, joint and muscle pains, weakness, skin rashes, nose bleeding, abdominal pain, vomiting, dark-colored stools, and difficulty in breathing.

At the sidelines of the Senate hearing on the proposed P128.4-billion budget of the DOH for 2016, Health Secretary Janette Garin said the rising cases of dengue was already "expected."

Dengue cases tend to increase every two to three years, she added.

Garin, however, said the agency has proposed a P270-million budget for the government' campaign against dengue in 2016 to mitigate it.

She added that the DOH is now monitoring areas that may become dry due to El Niño phenomenon and those congested areas that may become breeding sites of mosquitoes.

Garin said they are also conducting school campaign to make the public aware of the peak hours – two hours after sunrise and two hours before sunset – when mosquitoes can bring dengue.

"Basically, the government is here to help but individual obligation is needed because each family has the role to clean their surroundings," Garin said.

Amid the dengue outbreak, the DOH has already renewed its call for barangays to adhere to the ABaKaDa program, which calls for regular weekly clean-up drives spearheaded by the barangay leaders and includes the active participation of community volunteers, civil society and others in government.

The health department had also reminded the public of the 4S program versus dengue, which stands for search and destroy mosquito breeding sites; self-protection by wearing long-sleeved shirts; seek early advise/consultation at the nearest health center; and say yes to fogging only when there is an impending outbreak. (HDT/Ruth Abbey Gita/Sunnex)
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