Dengue cases up by 22% in S. Mindanao

Dr. Paulo Pantojan, chief of the DOH’s Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit in the region, said the cases from January to May this year rose to 1,017 cases. Most of these cases, he said, are from Davao City, numbering 700 or 69 percent.

But Pantojan was quick to say there is no outbreak of dengue in the region.

The DOH official said the region's being prone to flooding during the rainy season contribute to the increase. He warned that the rains could usher in more cases, especially in densely populated areas.

According to the DOH, dengue fever is an acute infectious disease manifested initially with fever.

Aedes aegypti, the transmitter of the disease, is a day-biting mosquito which lays eggs in clear and stagnant water found in flower vases, cans, rain barrels, old rubber tires, etc. The adult mosquitoes rest in dark places of the house.

Among the common signs and symptoms of dengue include sudden onset of high fever which may last from 2 to 7 days, joint and muscle pain and pain behind the eyes, weakness, skin rashes, nose bleeding when fever starts to subside, abdominal pain, vomiting of coffee-colored matter, and dark-colored stools.

The announcement came as the Regional Disaster Coordinating Councils in Southeastern Mindanao drummed up calls for respective local disaster coordinating councils and the public in general to prepare for the rainy days.

He said they have intensified their information and education drive in communities to alert the public against the disease.

Households were advised to clean surroundings to drive away mosquitoes, the carrier of dengue.

The DOH announced they have also pushed harder in their search and destroy operations against the insects.

Among the measures the DOH had recommended to communities to prevent and control dengue include keeping drums, pails, and other water containers well-covered so as not to serve as Aedes aegypti breeding places.

They also pushed for cleaning and scrubbing the sides of water containers well at least once a week, where mosquito eggs usually attach to.

Even old tires should be disposed of, the DOH said. Tires used as weights to keep loose roof in place should be punched with holes to prevent these from collecting water, it added.

Water placed in flower vases should also be replaced at least once a week and that all containers that may collect water and serve as breeding places should be thrown.