public health

South Cotabato dengue cases soar by 142%, six deaths recorded

Rommel Rebollido

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South Cotabato dengue cases soar by 142%, six deaths recorded

FILE PHOTO. An Aedes mosquito, which is the carrier of malaria, encephalitis, dengue, nipa and zika virus.


Health officials note that dengue cases have been present for at least four consecutive weeks in 57 of South Cotabato's 199 villages

KORONADAL CITY, Philippines – Health authorities in South Cotabato sounded alarm bells as the number of dengue cases surged dramatically in the province, resulting in the deaths of six people, most of whom were children.

The Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO) reported a total of 2,202 cases of the dreaded disease from January to July of this year.

The figure represents a 142% increase compared to the number of dengue cases reported during the same period in 2022, IPHO Mosquito-borne Disease Program Coordinator Jose Barroquillo on Friday, August 11.

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The dengue-related deaths include three from Polomolok and one each from Koronadal City, and the towns of Tboli and Norala.

Dengue has infected about 825 children in South Cotabato, accounting for over a third of all cases reported since January, according to Barroquillo.

The hardest-hit areas are the towns of Polomolok, with 376 cases; Surallah, with 321 cases; and Koronadal City, with 317 cases.

Local health officials blamed the dramatic increase in dengue cases to the frequent rain experienced since early this year, which have contributed to the proliferation of dengue-causing mosquitoes.

In June 2022, the town of Surallah was placed under a state of calamity due to a dengue outbreak.

Initially, a noticeable clustering of dengue cases was observed in at least three villages, said Leonardo Ballon, chief of the Surallah Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO).

Dengue clustering refers to the presence of dengue cases for four consecutive weeks.

But this time, Barroquillo said, the dengue clustering has been noted in 57 out of the province’s 199 barangays. 

Barroquillo has urged parents to be vigilant about dengue symptoms in their children.

“Always observe your children for symptoms such as fever, skin rashes, body pains, and bleeding,” he said.

Dengue is a self-limiting infection, and patients with strong resistance can usually recover within a week or two. Treatment primarily involves the use of pain medication, as no specific cure is currently available.

The World Health Organization (WHO) states that most people who contract dengue show no symptoms.

However, for those who do develop symptoms, the most common ones include high fever, headache, body aches, nausea, and rash. Some individuals, however, may progress to severe dengue, a potentially fatal condition. –

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