Domondon: The mosquito fish and dengue eradication in the city

THE Department of Health-Cordillera Administrative Region (DOH-CAR), the Baguio City Health Office, and the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center (BGHMC) recently updated the city of Baguio through the City Council on the status of dengue Cases in the City.

These government agencies categorically stated that while there is a spike in the number of Dengue cases in the city and indeed it may be considered alarming there is yet no cogent basis to declare a dengue outbreak and as explained to the august body by DOH-CAR Regional Director Dra. Lakshmi Legaspi such a declaration has to be based on the picture average for the past five years and whether the average of such incidents in a particular area exceeded the epidemic threshold. Dr. Legaspi was also reluctant to introduce the use of dengue vaccines in the city, as suggested, due to the fact that it is expensive with one dose priced at around four thousand five hundred pesos, and that for a complete vaccination of three doses one would have to cough up around fifteen thousand pesos. She also added that if one were to be vaccinated at a private medical institution then the price of one dose would be around seven thousand pesos and that the said vaccine is currently being piloted in only four areas in the country namely Region 3, Region 4a, NCR and lately Region 7.

When queried by members of the council as to measures being undertaken to control or eradicate the dengue carrying mosquitoes in the city Dra. Rowena Galpo of the City Health Office (CHO) bared their plans to coordinate and meet with the barangays in order to facilitate the directive contained in an administrative order issued by the City Mayor to conduct search and destroy operations to eradicate breeding grounds and larvae of dengue carrying mosquitoes in the city. Aside from this, the CHO according to her has been conducting misting operations in the various barangays of the city using four misting machines lent to them by the DOH as well as chemicals provided them by the latter and that so far they have already finished misting operations in thirty barangays with more barangays scheduled this month of August and September.
On the part of Dr. Acluba of the BGHMC he supplied the information that at present they have 45 patients diagnosed with dengue at the said hospital and that since January until the end of July their total admission has reached 1,235 patients with 250 patients coming from La Union and other provinces in the Cordillera.

The city council for that matter has requested for additional measures such as more information dissemination campaigns to inform the public about the dengue situation in the city and the measures being undertaken by concerned agencies in order to soothe fears and apprehension regarding the high incidence of dengue in the locality.

Relative to this, the city council was not made aware whether the DOH or other concerned agencies have additional measures or solutions to completely prevent and eradicate dengue carrying mosquitoes from infecting citizens of Baguio. However in Dagupan City, way back in 2013, the National Integrated Fisheries Technology and Development Center (NIFTDC), a research arm of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) under the Department of Agriculture came up with a novel idea on how to control the population of mosquitoes that might be carrying viruses that cause dengue or chikungunya.

What they did was introduce into the drainage system in a barangay in Dagupan where elementary and secondary schools area located a type of fish called “Mosquito Fish” (scientific name – gombushia), which apparently feeds on mosquito larvae and can thrive on brackish waters like canals and drainage systems.

One wonders whether this mosquito fish would be a viable alternative measure in the overall strategy of the city government to search and destroy the breeding places as well as larvae of the dengue carrying mosquitoes in the city.

For those interested to learn more about this mosquito fish check the link (http://balita.ph/2013/07/17/mosquito-fish-dispersed-in-dagupan-drainage-system-to-control-dengue/).

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