DOH 7: Dengue cases up 95%

SUNSTAR FILE
PUBLIC REMINDER. The public is urged to search for areas and containers or any materials that can store water and dispose of the water immediately to prevent it from becoming a breeding site for mosquitoes. / SUNSTAR FILE

A PROLONGED drought brought about by the El Niño phenomenon is usually not associated with the rise in dengue cases in the country.

But for the first five months of 2024, amid soaring temperatures and high heat indexes, the Department of Health (DOH) 7 confirmed on Monday, June 3, that dengue cases went up by as much as 95 percent.

Dr. Ronald Jarvic Buscato, DOH 7 Communicable Diseases Section program manager, said that based on the DOH Dengue Surveillance Report, 6,539 dengue fever cases and 16 deaths were recorded from Jan. 1 to May 25.

Buscato said that these figures were 95 percent higher compared to the same period in 2023.

The ages of those affected ranged from two months old to 98 years old, with the median age recorded at 10 years old, he said.

“Bisan kinsa pwede magka-dengue. Usahay mahimong misconception nga healthy sila kay dili na magka-dengue,” Buscato said.

(Anyone can get dengue. Sometimes there’s a misconception that because they’re healthy, they can be immune.)

He said they reported the highest cases in Bohol, with over 2,000 cases, followed by Cebu, Negros (Oriental) and the tri-cities of Cebu, Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu.

During the five-month period, Bohol recorded 2,429 cases and five deaths; Cebu, 1,895 cases and five deaths; Negros Oriental, 1,082 cases and four deaths; and Siquijor, 282 cases and zero fatality.

For the tri-cities, Cebu City led the most number of dengue fever with 409 cases, followed by Mandaue City and Lapu-Lapu City with 227 and 199 cases, respectively.

The cities of Cebu and Mandaue recorded one death each.

Buscato said the 16 recorded fatalities, or a rate of 0.4 percent, is still way below the nationwide goal of one percent fatality.

He said these figures might increase with the start of the wet season, therefore, he reminded anew all local government units and rural health units to start formulating policies and programs

for interventions.

“By this time around, kay naplano na nila kung unsa ang ilahang dapat buhaton (they already know what they need to do),” he said.

These include massive clean-up drives, search and destroy the breeding place and chemical intervention in communities to prevent mosquito populations from arising.

The DOH has a 5S Strategy for mitigating dengue outbreaks, which encourages the public to practice searching and destroying breeding sites, seek early consultation and self-protective measures, say yes to fogging and sustain hydration.

Buscato said the DOH also celebrates June as Dengue Awareness Month.

Factors

Buscato said one of the factors that led to the surge in dengue cases was the climate change that brought intense heat and a prolonged dry season.

He said the weather phenomena heightened the metabolism of mosquitoes, particularly those carrying the dengue virus.

“Sige sila og gutomon ug sige man gutomon, sige usab sila og kaon. Sige man sad sila og kaon, sige usab sila og pangitlog,” Buscato said

(They’re always hungry and since they’re always hungry, they’re always eating. Since they’re always eating, they’re always laying eggs.)

Buscato said the current temperature, that hovers around 27 degrees Celsius, is ideal for the mosquitoes as it increases their lifespan.

He also said that with water scarce, many people tend to store water in containers that are left uncovered or unattended. These become “instant breeding sites” for mosquitoes, he said.

Buscato reminded anew the public to actively search for areas, containers, or any materials that can store stagnant water and dispose of the water immediately to prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs in them. / EHP

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