THE Department of Health (DOH) on Monday declared a National Dengue Alert due to the rapidly increasing number of cases observed in several regions.
According to Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III, among regions which have exceeded the epidemic threshold are MIMAROPA (Region IV-B), Western Visayas (Region VI), Central Visayas (Region VII), and Northern Mindanao (Region X). The Health chief disclosed that clustering of cases must be identified by the DOH regional office as a basis for declaring a localized epidemic at the barangay level.
Meanwhile, the following regions are being monitored after having exceeded the alert threshold — Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, CALABARZON, Bicol, Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Davao, Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, and Cordillera Administrative Region.
In coordination with the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC), through Undersecretary Ricardo Jalad of the Office of Civil Defense, code blue alert was activated. DOH, as lead agency, will be convening the NDRRMC Health Cluster.
From January 1 to June 29 this year, most cases are from Western Visayas (13,164), CALABARZON (11,474), Central Visayas (9,199), SOCCSKSARGEN (9,107), and Northern Mindanao (8,739). Dengue cases nationwide now reach a cumulative figure of 106,630. This is 85% higher compared to the same period last year (57,564).
Duque explained that dengue cases have been observed to peak every 3-4 years. He added that early detection and proper case management can prevent deaths. The last peak occurred in 2016, given this pattern, the DOH expects an increase in cases this year.
Dengue is a viral disease with no known vaccine or specific antibiotics. Effective surveillance can also help in reducing cases and deaths if areas with clustering of cases are identified early.
Signs and symptoms of disease are severe headache, pain behind the eyes, severe joint and muscle pain, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and skin rashes.
The most effective way to prevent dengue is still the 4S strategy – Search and destroy mosquito breeding places, Self-protective measures like wearing long sleeves and use of insect repellent, Seek early consultation at the first signs and symptoms of the disease, and Say yes to fogging if there is an impending outbreak.
“Dengue is preventable through the 4S strategy and early detection. Do the 4S and know its signs and symptoms,” Secretary Duque urged the public.