By Rachelle Nessia
CEBU CITY, Mar. 14 (PIA)--The Department of Health (DOH) in Region 7 reported a sharp increase in dengue cases this year as the disease has already claimed 29 lives in the region as of March 2.
Majority of the fatalities are from Cebu (23), Bohol (4), and Negros Oriental (2).
DOH-7 has recorded a total of 4,505 measles cases between January to March this year, or 233 percent higher compared to the same period last year.
Cebu province has the most number of cases with 2,834, followed by Bohol with 828, Negros Oriental with 797, and Siquijor with 46.
The top five local government units in Central Visayas with the highest numbers of measles cases are Cebu City (504), Lapu-Lapu City (413), Mandaue City (255), Dumaguete City (180), and Sibulan (99).
Most of the affected age group are under 6-10 years old.
Dr. Shelbay Blanco of DOH-7 said there are several factors that led to the increase in dengue cases, one of which is the mutation of the primary vectorof dengue, the Aedes Aegyptimosquito.
In previous years, dengue cases were common at the start of the rainy season, but Blanco said that is no longer the case this year.
“The behavior of the mosquito has changed. It’s possible that we will now see dengue cases all year round, from January until December,” he said during the recent Kapihan sa PIA Cebu forum.
Blanco also disclosed that Aedes Aegyptiused to only breed in clean, stagnant water, but now they thrive even on the surface water of canals.
He emphasized that the most effective method to combat dengue for now is vector control. “Kung walay lamok, walay dengue(If there are no mosquitos, there would be no dengue),” said Blanco.
DOH is pushing for the 4S strategy in its anti-dengue campaign: Search and destroy mosquito breeding places; Secure self-protection; Seek early consultation; and Support fogging/ spraying only in hotspot areas.
Blanco urged household owners to check and eliminate possible breeding places of mosquitoes such as flower vases, bottle caps, and even discarded candy wrappers. (rmn)