The number of dengue cases in Bohol has spiked by a whopping 448 percent which Provincial Health Office (PHO) chief Dr. Yul Lopez deemed to be “very alarming.”
Data from the Provincial Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (PESU) showed that the number of cases of the mosquito-borne disease soared to 521 from January 1 to May 15, 2022 from just 95 in the same period last year.
However, none have died due to dengue fever so far this year. In the same period in 2021, one person succumbed to the disease, which can cause internal bleeding and organ damage.
“Ang pagsaka aning kaso that is very alarming. Although pasalamat ta na walay kamatayon. Zero deaths sukad sa Enero hantod karon. Pero dapat ni mapasagdan ni, mura’g warning call ni na kaning 448 percent na pagsaka. This is an eye opener kanatong tanan. Dili na ta magpaabot na duna pay mamatay,” said Lopez.
The PESU data indicated that Tagbilaran City accounted for the highest number of dengue cases with 79.
It was followed by Talibon, 72; Ubay, 32; Loon, 23; Dauis, 19; Bien Unido, 18; Loay, 17; Sagbayan, 16; Trinidad, 15; and Cortes, 14.
Lopez partially attributed the surge in cases to the pandemic which has diverted health authorities’ focus away from dengue, which used to be a primary concern before the COVID-19 health crisis.
He said barangay health workers in particular have focused more on monitoring COVID-19 cases instead of conducting the regular anti-dengue cleanup drives and information campaign.
“Contributory pud ning pandemic. Ang mga health workers sa matag barangay natutok anang sa pag monitor, pag swab, pag isolate sa mga COVID positive. Usa sa among obserbasyon daghan gyud ang nabiyaan ang pagpahingusog sa anti-dengue campaign,” said Lopez.
The local health chief also noted a trend observed by epidemiologists in which dengue cases rise every three years.
The last upsurge was detected in 2019.
“Dunay observation ang atong mga epidemiologist—although di ko kaayo maka-elaborate kaayo sa rason—apan there is a trend na kada tulo ka tuig mo daghan ang dengue cases. And naigo gyud. True enough kining 2022 ang ika tulo ka tuig,” said Lopez.
According to the PHO’s Provincial Dengue Program coordinator Saniel Leonidas, they are projecting a possible dengue outbreak in Central Visayas as the number of cases is seen to exceed the epidemic threshold.
“From January to May, pila ka percent na ang saka. Wa pa ta sa katunga sa tuig, taas na kaayo. Naa pay pila ka buwan usa mahuman ang tuig so naay gyuy possibility na mag declare og outbreak,” said Leonidas.
Based on data from the Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Unit (RESU) 7, 820 dengue cases were recorded in Central Visayas from January 1, 2022 to May 7 marking a 287-percent increase from the tally in the same period last year.
While there is still no specific treatment or cure for dengue, Leonidas reminded the public to continue practicing previously disseminated prevention measures such as the 4S strategy.
The 4S plan involves searching and destroying mosquito breeding places, securing self-protection, seeking early consultation, and supporting fogging and spraying in hotspot places.
Leonidas added that individuals should refrain from keeping stagnant water. If it could not be avoided, stored water should always be covered.
Dengue is mainly transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which breeds in stagnant water.
However, Leonidas noted that a mosquito egg can survive for a year without water and even under direct sunlight. Once submerged in water, it can still hatch, he added.
He said water containers previously used to store stagnant water should be thoroughly cleaned to prevent mosquito eggs from sticking to it.
“Kung ma humol tong itlog sa tubig mahimo siyang wayawaya in just three days and after seven days mahimong lamok,” said Leonidas. (A. Doydora)