BREAKING DENGUE’S RECURRING PATTERN
Just as the country is having a respite from surges of Covid-19 cases thanks in part to the administration of vaccines when it became available in the country, dengue and its millions of carriers described as an old enemy is making its comeback, having all what it takes to again become an epidemic.
With no vaccine readily available to counter this fatal disease since the fiasco with the dengvaxia vaccine which remains banned in the country despite appeals from its manufacturer to be given a license, Filipinos, especially children who are most prone to dengue, continue to face the risk of acquiring and reacquiring the disease in a massive scale and even die of it.
With more relaxed restrictions in effect due to Covid-19 case downtrend, Baguio and Benguet health offices have been recording dengue cases since January up to the first week of June totaling 800 cases. For Baguio, its record of 241 cases in just six months is highest in six years, enough reason for the city government to call it an epidemic and raise the alert.
Health authorities explained dengue’s recurrence is due to its cyclic pattern, usually every three to four years. People have also started becoming mobile and converging in places, making them easy target for the aedes aegypti, the dengue-carrying mosquito, and this had led to clustering of cases in the case of these two localities.
If such is the case, should it not be easier for us then to avoid catching dengue, given that we know its recurring behavior and where and when to expect its carriers to breed?
Let us forget the vaccine in the meantime, and maybe allow it in the future if we are convinced enough of effectiveness.
Right now, it is important for communities to understand that there will be no dengue if there are no dengue-carrying mosquitoes.
Like in preventing the spread of the Covid-19, it would have been better if there is a vaccine against dengue not just for making ourselves immune from the disease but more on preventing severe symptoms and deaths, ironically caused by a just single mosquito bite.
But we agree with local health officials who keep on advising that if everybody would only put our acts together, we can eliminate dengue, maybe for good.
The formula is actually simple: search and destroy. The challenge is keeping at it, and making everybody participate in the process to make eradication of mosquito breeding sites a practice.
As part of the proverbial 4S of the Department of Health, searching for and destroying mosquito sites boils down to simply keeping a clean environment and lifestyle, but the catch is – not giving the aedes clean water to breed on.
Authorities remind the aedes thrives on clean water so it is important for us to cover water containers and religiously check flower vases, pots, and anything that accumulates water such as old tires, pails, and basins at home and premises.
It should be simple, but many tend to take it for granted. Still, we believe the 4S – search and destroy, self-protection measures, say no to indiscriminate fogging, and seek early consultation – is the most effective way of dealing with dengue, probably better than a vaccine.
Coming off from a pandemic that still rages on, the last thing we need is dealing with more threats to our health like dengue and other mass disease outbreaks.We have had enough heartbreak from loss of loved ones due to an unseen enemy.
But while we still have many challenges to face, we believe we can stop this old enemy called dengue from recurring. We can choose to make cleanliness and the 4S against dengue a habit and start it from within our homes. Put our acts together, work as a community, and it may be best the antidote yet.