LEGAZPI CITY --- The mounting number of reported dengue fever patients in Bicol has prompted the regional office of the Department of Health (DOH-5) to identify 33 barangays in the region as dengue “hot spots.”
The tagging of barangays with the highest recorded incidents of dengue cases was meant to rouse the local governments and the public to raise the level of their fight against the mosquito-borne disease.
Based on a report by the Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Unit of DOH-5, Camarines Sur has the most number of barangay dengue hot spots with 13, followed by Sorsogon with 10. Albay has seven; Masbate, two; and Catanduanes, one.
DOH-5 Regional Director Ernie V. Vera said at a press conference that dengue has claimed the lives of 30 people in Bicol, mostly children aged 6-10, during the first seven months of 2019.
The number of fatalities, at 17 to date, was 13 deaths higher than that recorded for the same period in 2018.
Dr. Vera said the number of dengue cases regionwide jumped to 2,660 from January 1 to July 13 this year, or by 84 percent higher than the 1,448 cases reported during the same period last year.
“This is alarming since despite concerted efforts with the local health partners, there is still a continuous rise of dengue cases across the Bicol Region,” Vera said.
With the arrival of monsoon rains, the DOH-5 expects the number to escalate.
“Dengue is a viral disease with no known cure. The complications of dengue may lead to death, so let us all be proactive and seek early consultation when its symptoms arise,” Vera said.
Vera said consistent and aggressive practice of 4S strategy remains the most effective and practical means to eradicate the disease-carrying mosquitoes.
The 4S strategy stands for “search and destroy mosquito breeding places, self-protection measures, seek early consultation for fever lasting more than two days, and say yes to fogging” as a last resort when there is an impending outbreak.
“Dengue prevention starts with me – ‘sa sadiri ta’. In as simple as cleaning our surroundings and barangay we can stop the spread of dengue. Remember, our health is in our hands,” Vera added.
The DOH-5 appealed to the public to not just rely on the government in curbing the rise in dengue cases but to also to do their part in dengue prevention.
The sharp spike in the number of dengue cases and deaths due to the disease not only in Bicol but throughout the country as well prompted Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III on July 15 to declare a national dengue alert.