By Sarwell Meniano
TACLOBAN CITY — The Department of Health (DOH) has expressed alarm over the rising number of dengue cases in Eastern Visayas (Region 8) this year, with 19 deaths and 4,809 confirmed cases as of Thursday.
The number of people who fell ill from January 1 to July 11 this year is about 86 percent higher compared to the same period in 2018, with 2,590 cases.
John Paul Roca, DOH regional information officer, said there’s no dengue outbreak in any part of the region, but the clustering of cases has been reported in 52 villages.
Dengue deaths have been recorded in Guiuan, Quinapondan, General MacArthur, and Hernani in Eastern Samar; Tacloban City, Baybay City, Burauen, Babatngon, Merida, and Mahaplag in Leyte; Sogod and Macrohon in Southern Leyte; Kawayan in Biliran; and Calbayog City, and Catbalogan City in Samar province.
Roca said the non-stop surge of cases since last year is very alarming. Based on DOH records, 2018 has the most number of cases since 2010 where about 12,000 people were afflicted by the mosquito-borne disease. In 2018, Eastern Visayas had 11,000 cases with 61 deaths.
“We have to heighten active surveillance in all reporting sites. We have been providing assistance to local government units through massive information drive, assembly of mothers, and conduct misting and fogging activities,” Roca said in a phone interview Friday.
The DOH also provided rapid dengue test kits in rural health units to raise their capability to detect the disease that has been affecting thousands of children this year.
The health department asked city and town mayors to advise villages to organize clean-up campaigns focusing on the destruction of mosquito breeding places in their areas, and conduct community assembly in areas with dengue cases.
The official reiterated the DOH’s “4S” to fight dengue as an effective strategy to prevent cases and deaths.
These “4S” strategies are the search and destroy mosquito breeding places, seek early consultation, self-protection method, and support fogging/spraying only in hot spot areas, where an increase in cases is registered for two consecutive weeks, to prevent an impending outbreak.
Dengue fever is marked by an onset of sudden high fever, severe headache, and pain behind the eyes, muscles, and joints. Some may develop rashes and varying degrees of bleeding in different parts of the body. (PNA)