Cebu raises dengue alert as La Niña nears

CEBU CITY, Philippines – In preparation for the coming La Niña season, the Cebu Provincial Health Office (PHO) has raised the alert for dengue fever on Friday, June 3.

According to the Department of Health (DOH), at least 14 people have already died from dengue in Cebu province from January to May 2016. The number of cases of dengue have also risen to 1,594 in those 5 months.

Toledo City recorded the highest number of cases with 222 dengue fever cases and 1 death, followed by Balamban town with 192 dengue fever cases and 1 death, and Liloan town with 162 dengue fever cases and two deaths.

Bogo only had 92 dengue fever cases but 4 people already died from the fever, making it the town with the highest number of casualties in the province. 

Health education and promotion officer Wilfredo Salgado Jr said that most of the victims in the province are children.

“The immune system of children are not as strong compared to adults. Most of the kids still can't communicate what problems they have, unlike adults who can easily verbalize what they are feeling,” Salgado said. 

Dr Wilson Anthony Egos, medical officer for communicable and non-communicable diseases, said that the government is focusing on prevention and control of dengue.

"It's still being worked on in coordination with the national government. We are planning to have a mass immunization of dengue vaccine in schools here,” Egos said.

Egos advised the public to practice the 4S to prevent dengue – search and destroy, self-protection measures, see early consultation, and say yes to misting. 

Aside from dengue, the PHO also released a public advisory on diarrhea and cholera, which are also common diseases during the rainy season.  

The PHO encouraged the public to be conscious of their hygiene, observe proper hand washing, and proper food handling. The office also advised Cebuanos to boil their drinking water if their sources are unfiltered to kill harmful bacteria and prevent diseases. – Rappler.com

A student of Cebu Normal University, Jan Moises Alarcon is a Rappler intern based in Cebu.