THE Department of Health (DOH) has placed Central Visayas on high alert status after dengue cases in the region rose 159 percent higher compared to the previous year’s.

As of June 4, around 5,728 cases and 46 deaths attributed to dengue fever have been monitored, said Dr. Shelbay Blanco, DOH 7 Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (RESU) and Health Emergency Management Services (HEMS) program manager.

Only 2,212 cases and nine deaths were monitored in the same period last year.

Factors

During the Kapihan sa PIA yesterday, Blanco said one of the factors why Central Visayas is experiencing an increasing trend in dengue cases and deaths this year is the possibility that the aedes aegypti mosquito can now breed in various areas where it didn’t usually thrive such as black and murky water.

He also noticed that most of the cases had increased even during the El Niño, concluding that the dengue mosquito can thrive even in very hot climates.

“Sa una, it only thrived in rainy season. Karun, pwede na siya mabuhi even sa summer,” Blanco said.

He also attributed the increase of cases and deaths to the monitoring of hospitals who continue to assist the DOH in measuring the number of dengue cases.

Another factor is the increased awareness of the public to immediately report their children or themselves if feeling the symptoms of dengue.

Blanco assured that the DOH is also fast-tracking the acquisition of the dengue vaccines that will be distributed to Central Visayas by the end of the year.

Priority

After the DOH has conducted pilot testing in the greater Luzon area, Central Visayas will be one of regions that would be placed on second priority for the distribution of Dengvaxia.

Blanco said that once the dengue vaccine is ready for distribution, it can only be availed of for free by all Grade 4 students studying in public schools.