Residents warned vs rising cases of dengue fever GENERAL

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/08 July) — Health authorities in South Cotabato cautioned residents Thursday against the rising cases of dengue fever, which has claimed two lives since January.

Dr. Rogelio Aturdido Jr., South Cotabato Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO) chief, said their latest evaluation showed that dengue cases in the province have continued to increase since the onset of the rainy season in the area last May.

He said all 10 municipalities and lone city of the province have reported positive dengue cases, eight of them posting a rising trend in the last two months.

He said the two confirmed deaths were reported last June in T’boli town and in Koronadal City.

“This is an alarming trend and it clearly had a lot to do with the recent changes in our weather condition,” Aturdido said.

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.

From January to June, the IPHO reported at least 605 positive cases of dengue in the province, rising by at least 27 percent from the 442 cases recorded during the same period in 2009.

The IPHO report noted some 92 positive dengue cases recorded last January, 86 each in February and March, 68 in April, 121 in May and 152 in June.

Koronadal City topped the areas with the most number of positive dengue cases with 156 followed by Polomolok with 129 and Tupi with 67.

The mosquito-borne disease mainly affected children aged six to 10 years old with 126 cases, which comprise 21 percent of the total number of confirmed dengue cases.

At least 119 cases were recorded for those aged 11 to 15 years old, 106 cases for children aged five years and below, 75 cases for persons aged 26 to 30 years old and 56 for the 21 to 25 year-olds.

Aturdido said they already directed the municipal and city health offices in the province to intensify their awareness campaigns and community-level monitoring regarding the disease.

He said they will meet with officials of the Department of Education for the launching of a regular cleanup activities every morning in  private and public school compounds in the

“We’re focusing our campaign in schools since the disease mainly affects our school children and there was a significant increase in the number of cases when the classes started in June,” Aturdido said.

He said they will also conduct information and education campaigns in schools and barangays regarding strategies on how to combat the spread of the disease by adopting the Department of Health’s 4-S strategy which stands for search and destroy, self-protection, seek early treatment and say no to indiscriminate fogging. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)