While everybody is struggling to arrest the virus that causes the Covid-19 disease, the Department of Health-Cordillera has called for heightened awareness and vigilance against dengue, another fatal disease borne by mosquitoes that has perennially bugged the region.
DOH-Cordillera entomologist III Alexander P. Baday reported the region has recorded five deaths as of May 22, four of them are from Baguio City and one in Benguet.
The five deaths are among the 288 dengue cases recorded from Baguio City and the six provinces from Jan. 1 to May 22.
Benguet recorded the highest number of cases with 173, Baguio with 67, Kalinga with 19, Ifugao with 14, Apayao with 11, and Mountain Province with four.
Apayao has no dengue case, although 10 more cases have been detected in the region involving patients who are not from the Cordillera, bringing the total number of dengue cases in the region to 298.
Baday said the 298 cases is 47 percent lower compared to the cases recorded for the same period last year, but health officials are monitoring a three-year period starting 2020 as they have observed an increasing trend in the number of dengue cases.
He said the lower number for the five-month period this year may be attributed to the interventions of local government units in their respective areas and since most people are staying at home and are able to do measures such as searching and destroying mosquito breeding areas, which is one of the 4S strategy and the primary prevention strategy to eliminate dengue.
“Although our interventions are currently focused on Covid-19, we urge the public to be aware of dengue as a perennial problem in the Cordillera. We encourage everybody to maintain our vigilance against this mosquito-borne disease especially now that the rainy season has started where dengue-carrying mosquitoes usually breed,” Baday said.
He said seeking and destroying breeding grounds for dengue is especially important now as many households are maintaining indoor and outdoor plants, which usually use bottom plates where water accumulate and where mosquitoes may breed if not attended to properly.
Since the Oplan Taob regularly done in communities cannot be implemented to avoid gathering, Baday urges household members to seek and destroy these breeding grounds in their premises.
The other 4S are self protection measures like wearing of loose and long sleeves and pants and using mosquito repellents; seek early consultation which also can be done online aside from the usual consultation process, particularly when having fever for two days; and support spray or fogging operations in communities.
“We hope the number of deaths will no longer increase as we always consider one death as serious. Despite Covid-19, mag-4S pa rin tayo,” Baday said.
June is Dengue Awareness Month as the year-round disease usually rises in incidence during the rainy season due to the presence of more breeding places for disease-causing aedes aegypti type of mosquitoes. – Hanna C. Lacsamana