40 dead due to dengue in Bicol
LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines – Forty people in Bicol have died due to dengue from January to July this year, the regional health chief said.
Department of Health-Bicol director Ernie Vera said 4,241 dengue cases were recorded for the first 7 months of the year in he region, and that most of those who died were children aged 4 months to 10 years old.
Vera said the spike in dengue cases in the country could have been avoided if local officials only strictly enforced the government's anti-dengue strategy, with the help of local communities.
“This year, the Philippines is experiencing massive mosquito-borne disease because the public and some local government units failed to enforce and maintain cleanliness in their respective localities despite of our plea,” Vera said.
Vera said that as early as January, the health department had been calling on the public and local government units to enforce the "4S strategy" to help stem dengue cases, especially in view of extreme weather events due to climate change.
The strategy includes destroying mosquito breeding place, self-protective measures like wearing long sleeves and use of insect repellent, early consultation on the first signs and symptoms of the disease, and fogging if there is an impending outbreak.
Figures only from sentinel site
The regional health chief said the actual number of dengue cases in the Bicol could be higher, as the 4,241 cases reported to the DOH was just taken from the lone sentinel site in the region, the Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital (BRTTH).
The DOH on Tuesday, August 6, declared a national dengue epidemic as cases of the disease went up by 98% compared to the same 7-month period last year.
Vera said that it was just the second time that the Philippines experienced a dengue outbreak. The first was in 1998.
Among the 6 provinces of Bicol, Camarines Sur had the highest number of cases with 17 deaths and 1,706 cases in the first 7 months of the year, followed by Albay with 10 deaths and 769 cases, Sorsogon with 8 deaths and 784 cases, Catanduanes with 1 death and 563 cases, Masbate with 2 deaths and 271 cases, and Camarines Norte, 2 deaths and 144 cases.
Bicol is one of the 7 regions in the country that exceeded the dengue epidemic threshold for the past 3 consecutive weeks.
‘Sustained community effort’
Vera appealed to all stakeholders for sustained community efforts to fight dengue in homes, workplaces, and schools.
“Our aim is to cut the cycle of mosquito borne disease and this could be done through collective efforts and institutionalization of anti-dengue drive campaign of the local government units,” he said.
He called on governors, mayors and local councils to enact local ordinances that would strengthen the fight against mosquito-borne disease and related emerging infectious diseases in Bicol.
“We enjoin all respective government agencies, LGUs, schools private offices and entire Bicolanos to conduct the simultaneous 4 o’clock habit para Deng-get Out. Let us all together fight the bite to destroy breeding sites of mosquitos,” he said.
The Philippines has recorded the most number of dengue cases in Southeast Asia so far in 2019, with 146,062 cases and 622 deaths due to the mosquito-borne disease from January 1 to July 23, 2019.– Rappler.com
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