While all eyes remain on the fast-spreading novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) which hogs the global and local headlines, dengue continues to wreak havoc in Bohol as the dreaded mosquito-borne disease killed five people and infected 1,167 others in the first 39 days of 2020.
Data from the Bohol field office of the Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit 7 (RESU) which was released Tuesday indicated that dengue cases recorded from January 1, 2020 to February 8, 2020 soared by 41.5 percent to 1,167 from 825 in the same period in 2019.
The number of dengue cases surged to a 19-year record high last year with 7,287 cases, breaking the previous record of 5,249 cases in 2018.
Based on the 2020 RESU data, Talibon accounted for the most cases in Bohol for the first 39 days of the year with 234 cases or 20.1 percent of the total number of cases.
The town was followed by Tagbilaran City with 74 cases, Tubigon with 68 cases, Alicia with 59 cases and Getafe with 48 cases.
After the release of the new data, Dr. Cesar Tomas Lopez of the Provincial Health Office assured that the provincial government has long launched programs against the disease, saying that they are focusing on information campaigns at the barangay level.
Lopez said that they have been aggressively pushing for the mobilization of the “Aksyon Barangay Kontra Dengue” or ABKD across the province for constant implementation of cleanup drives and monitoring of the cleanliness of houses in villages.
“Kung walang lamok, walang dengue,” he said. “We always stress na mag-mobilize g’yud ang Aksyon Barangay Kontra Dengue unya naay dengue task force, kung mahimo, everyday manglimpyo.”
Lopez explained that the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the vector responsible for dengue fever, had become endemic to Bohol, citing this as the main reason for the rise in cases of the disease.
“Kung taw pa ni, naka-establish na og permanent residency sa Bohol, endemic na siya, inhabitant na g’yud siya sa Bohol magsige og multiply,” he said.
The Aedes aegypti mosquito is not only endemic in the province, but the entire Philippines and other tropical countries.
Lopez pinpointed cleanup drives as the main measure to destroy the breeding grounds of mosquitoes.
Misting operations are also being conducted across the province, but these are not sustainable means to combat the disease.
“Dili na siya guarantee kay molupad ra pud ng lamok og asa ga misting, mo balhin ra sa laing barangay. Og mo subside na ang aso, mobalik na pud,” he said.
The health official called on the public to immediately seek medical consultation when symptoms of the disease arise. He noted that most dengue deaths are caused by late diagnosis and intervention.
According to the World Health Organization, dengue should be suspected when a high fever (40°C/104°F) is accompanied by two of the following symptoms during the febrile phase: severe headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pains, nausea, vomiting, swollen glands and rash.
Lopez said that all 10 district hospitals of the province are equipped with Dengue Duo test kits and these are offered for free.
Those found positive for the disease will be admitted to the hospital for health personnel to help manage their symptoms.
“To prevent dehydration and death, magsugod na dayon og IV fluid aron ma-manage very well,” he said.
Lopez assured that all of the province’s district hospitals, which are run by the provincial government, have enough test kit supply.
The data on dengue was released by the RESU amid an nCoV scare which has gripped the province and the entire nation.
However, there have only been three confirmed nCoV cases in the Philippines and one recorded death while the RESU data showed that more Bohol residents have fallen ill and died due to dengue. (with A. Doydora)