EDITORIAL: Let dengue go away


WHILE we are glued on the news about what’s the latest of the president’s stupid and irreverent rants and verbal taunts, something creepily bad is taking place in the provinces where more patients, especially children, are being rushed to hospitals because of high number of dengue cases reported with the onset of the ready season. Dengue-carrying mosquitoes, as we should know, thrive in wet or damp areas. A town in Ilocos Norte, according to recent report by the Philippine News Agency, has been placed under a state of calamity due to abnormally high dengue cases with already one dead. The Department of Health in Cordillera also recorded a spike of 120 percent in dengue cases during the first six months of the year. A report from the Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Unit (RESU) shows that there were 1,540 dengue cases recorded in the Cordillera region from January to June 2018, up 120 percent from 700 cases during the same period last year. In Pangasinan, the Provincial Health Office there recorded 1, 687 dengue cases with eight mortalities in different parts of the province from January 1 to July 2 this year. The provincial health officer just yesterday said the cases this year on the given period were up by 91 percent as against the 884 cases on the same period last year. “Many of the victims are children aged 10 to 14. However, most of adult cases we have recorded were among farmers, construction workers, and laborers – especially those who work at junk shops,” the health officer said. According to the Dengue Disease Surveillance Report of the Department of Health, more than 10,980 dengue cases had been reported nationwide from January 1 to February 10 this year. This, however, is 41.38 percent lower than the 18,731 cases reported within the same period last year. A total of 51 deaths had also been recorded for 2018, the DOH report added. The report showed that 23 percent of those afflicted with dengue were minors 10-14 years old. Those increasing dengue cases may be happening in the North but we don’t exactly know what the real situation is in our own province and region as of now. Has there been similar rise in dengue cases in our own city or province in the past few months? Our local health authorities should please tell us about the latest data especially with the onset of the rainy season. We can’t just be all too complacent and unperturbed in our own comfort zones. And are we doing enough to prevent dengue cases from breaking out in our own communities? By now, our residents must be advised to always keep their surroundings clean and to destroy places, which could serve as breeding grounds for dengue-carrying mosquitoes. A small bottle cap with water in it can be a breeding site for dengue-carrying mosquitoes. Health authorities warn that the number of dengue cases may peak during the rainy season and may reach widespread proportions if preventive measures or control are not taken. Still, there is always the conventional way to prevent the spread of dengue and thus save more lives even before the disease begins to strike. Everyone should religiously adhere to the so-called 4S strategy to prevent dengue in all households and neighborhoods. This 4s strategy includes: Search and destroy mosquito breeding places; Secure self-protection; Seek early consultation; and Support fogging/spraying only in hot spot areas where increase in cases is registered for two consecutive weeks to prevent impending outbreak. If everybody do these together, then there will be less chance for dengue to hit us in alarming proportion. As the old adage says, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”