BAGUIO CITY – The Cordillera office of the Department of Health (DOH-CAR) reported a 53 percent increase in dengue fever cases in the region for the first five months of the year after recording some 2,025 cases compared to the 1,320dengue fever cases registered by the agency during the same period last year.
Based on the data obtained from the DOH-CAR’s Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit, there were 4 dengue-related deaths reported regionwide which is higher by 25 percent compared to the 3 dengue-related deaths recorded by the agency during the same period in 2018.
Geeny Anne Austria of the DOH-CAR-RESU said for this year, Benguet recorded the highest number of dengue fever cases with 441 followed by Apayao with 434 cases, Ifugao – 221 cases, Kalinga – 170 cases, Mountain Province – 143 cases, Abra – 131 cases, Baguio City – 101 cases and non-CAR provinces – 384 cases.
She disclosed clustering of dengue fever cases were noted in the different provinces while some municipalities in Benguet, Apayao, Ifugao and Mountain Province were documented to have reportedly exceeded the epidemic or alert threshold that prompted the deployment of health teams to assist in controlling the rapid spread of the dreaded illness.
Health authorities disclosed that dengue is caused by any of the 4 sero types of dengue virus which are all present in the region over the past several decade.
According to them, an infected day-biting female aedes mosquito transmits the viral disease to humans.
Further, from the previous cyclic trend, experts report dengue fever cases are now present throughout the year but the number usually rapidly increases during the rainy season where the breeding ground of the female mosquito became available, specifically those containers holding clear and stagnant water.
Health officials warned that dengue fever could reach widespread proportions if preventive measures of control are not immediately taken by the people and the concerned agencies.
Among the recommended dengue fever prevention and control measures include the strict observance to the 4s against dengue which are search and destroy, self-protection measures, seek early consultation and say no to indiscriminate fogging.
The symptoms of dengue fever are fever of around 40°C, weakness/intense fatigue, headache, pain in the body, behind the eyes and joints and red spots on skin.
Experts advised individuals experiencing the symptoms of dengue fever or all other illnesses to immediately seek medical attention from the nearest health facility in their places so that they will be provided with the appropriate diagnosis instead of self-medication which could be dangerous to the health of the concerned individuals.
Health officials said that free dengue fever tests are now available in the different rural centers around the region, thus, people who feel symptoms of the dreaded illness could be brought to the facility nearest to their place for proper diagnosis and provision of medicines to cure them.
By Dexter A. See