Dengue in South Cot: “outbreak level but manageable”

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/14 July) — Dengue incidence in Region 12 or Southwestern Mindanao has reportedly reached the outbreak level as confirmed cases in the region rose to almost 3,500 during the past weeks, and the number of deaths has reached a dozen.

Jane Ventura, health education and promotion officer of the Department of Health (DOH) Region 12, said they recorded an unusual increase of dengue cases in almost the entire region since the onset of the rainy season last month.

Dengue is an acute infectious viral disease, which usually affects infants and young children. It is transmitted through a day-biting mosquito known as Aedes aegypti.

Ventura said as of  Wednesday, July 14, at least 12 deaths have been confirmed due to the mosquito-borne disease.

“So far, we’re already at the outbreak level but the overall situation is considered manageable,” she told reporters.

A report earlier released by the Department of Health (DOH)-Region 12 noted that confirmed dengue cases from the region’s four provinces and five cities had reached 3,142 from January 1 to July 3.

Region 12, which reportedly recorded the fourth highest number of dengue cases among the country’s 16 regions, covers the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.

North Cotabato posted the most number of dengue cases with 1,917 followed by South Cotabato with 583, General Santos City with 214, Cotabato City with 197, Sarangani with 109 and Sultan Kudarat with 95.

The DOH initially listed seven confirmed deaths in North Cotabato, two in South Cotabato and one in this city.

But in an inter-agency meeting on dengue in Koronadal City on Tuesday, South Cotabato health officials reported that the province’s dengue cases have reached over 760 cases, with two more confirmed deaths.

The City Integrated Health Services Office here disclosed last week that the confirmed dengue cases in the area have increased to 231.

Dr. Rogelio Aturdido Jr., South Cotabato provincial health officer, said concerned government and non-government agencies in the province agreed during their meeting Tuesday to intensify community-level efforts on the destruction of breeding places of mosquitoes possibly carrying the disease.

“We will also conduct more dengue education and information campaigns in schools and launch joint community clean-up drives on a regular basis until the disease is effectively contained,” Aturdido said.

He said they will also tap college students who are currently taking the National Service Training Program or NSTP every Saturday to join the “search and destroy” operations against mosquito breeding places.

“If these efforts will not bring satisfactory results after one month, then we will elevate the matter to the Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council and create a dengue task force,” Aturdido said. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)