June 23, 2024

Baguio City and Benguet have raised the alert for dengue after the health services offices recorded 800 cases with one death, aside from clustering of cases in several towns and barangays in the two areas.

In Baguio, the City Health Services Office reported that from Jan. 1 to June 4, the city has recorded a total of 241 dengue cases, twice higher than the 121 cases in 2021.

But no dengue-related death was recorded by CHSO compared to the five fatalities du-ring the same period last year.

“We are considering this as an epidemic because of the extreme spike,” said Engr. Charles Carame, head of the CHSO Sanitation Division.

At the moment, 13 barangays are under close monitoring due to clustered cases in the past four weeks. These are barangays Loakan Proper with 13 cases; Irisan, Kias, and San Luis Village, each with seven cases; SLU-SVP Housing Village and Bakakeng Central which have five cases each; Camp 7 with four cases; and City Camp Proper, Asin Road, Country Club Village, Legarda-Burnham-Kisad, Balsigan, and Bakakeng Norte which have three cases each.

Dr. Donnabel Panes, chief of the City Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit, said Mayor Benjamin Magalong has issued an order to immediately arrest the increasing trend of dengue at the onset by eliminating the breeding grounds of the aedes aegypti, the dengue carrying-mosquito, before its population further increases.   

She said all barangay health centers and inspectors under the CHSO Sanitation Division have now been mobilized to implement all community-based efforts, particularly searching and destroying all dengue mosquito breeding sites

Baguio recorded the highest number of dengue cases in 2016 with 1,866 cases and about 1,000 in 2019.

In Benguet, the Provincial Health Office reported 559 cases from Jan. 1 to May 28, or a hike of 172 percent compared to the 205 cases recorded during the same period last year.

PHO recorded one dengue-related death involving a senior citizen in La Trinidad.

PHO also reported clustering of cases in Atok, Bokod, Itogon, Kabayan, La Trinidad, and Tuba.

A cluster indicates a specific area with active transmission during a four week-monitoring.

Provincial Health Officer Meliarazon Dulay said health offices have already prioritized larval surveillance in the identified towns starting with Bokod, which has four barangays with clustering of cases.  

PHO is currently assisting the municipal health offices in larval surveillance to identify the areas with mosquito vector carriers for dengue, zika, and chikungunya viruses.  

The vector surveillance is a helpful tool in tracing the areas to rid possible breeding sites of these disease-carrying mosquitoes. 

Earlier, La Trinidad’s larval survey of 1,903 houses showed that 71.07 percent or 437 houses are dengue vector carriers for dengue, zika and chikungunya viruses.

Also, 28.93 percent or 178 houses have been tested to have Japanese encephalitis vectors in their area.

The various dengue task forces in Baguio and Benguet were activated in response to the rising cases.

“There’s a cyclic pattern for dengue cases, which is every three to four years, tumataas talaga ang cases, and we had this last 2016 and 2019. And for the first months of 2022, we already have 268 and we are only in the first half the year. The number is double that of 2021,” Panes said.

She added it is important for the public to know about the dengue mosquito, which the CHSO describes as “sosyal” and “social”: sosyal in the sense it does not like dirty water and areas but thrives in clean, clear water; and social in the sense it is where people are.

“We need to correct our perceptions on dengue. Ayaw niya ng marumi, kaya baka mali ang nililinis natin. Kailangan talagang hanapin natin ang mga clear, standing water dahil doon magbi-breed ang mga lamok na ito. From egg, after six days magiging lamok na ito, and one mosquito lays 80 to 100 eggs. We will be having millions if we will not doing something about the kiti-kiti. Nasa kamay na ito ng community. Kung dati nasa doctors and health workers, now it is in the household level,” Panes said. – Hanna C. Lacsamana and Ofelia C. Empian