GenSan steps up anti-dengue drive

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/24 August)  – The city government has intensified its campaign for the immediate diagnosis and treatment of suspected dengue cases in a bid to address the rising number of dengue deaths in the city this year that already reached 10 cases.

Dr. Mely Lastimoso, epidemiology and surveillance head of the City Integrated Health Services Office (CIHSO), said they have set up a dengue fast lane at the city district hospital here to ensure immediate treatment for suspected cases of the deadly mosquito-borne disease.

The CIHSO has earlier established a special ward for dengue patients at the city district hospital as part of its continuing efforts to effectively contain the disease’s incidence in the area.

Lastimoso said the recorded dengue cases within the city’s 26 barangays significantly decreased this year but the number of deaths has already increased by 100 percent.

The CIHSO recorded 298 confirmed dengue cases as of the third week of August or down by around 68 percent compared to the 945 cases during the same period last year.

But the number of dengue deaths has so far increased to 10 or already double compared to the five cases recorded in the entire 2010.

From the nine recorded deaths as of last August 13, a four year-old boy identified as Joven Ateneso of Barangay Fatima was added to the list last week after he succumbed to dengue complications.

The victim was so far the second dengue fatality from Barangay Fatima this year.

CIHSO records showed that two dengue deaths were also recorded in Barangay Lagao and one each in Barangays Dadiangas West, Labangal, San Isidro, Katangawan, Buayan and Calumpang.

“In most cases, it was already too late when they were brought to our hospitals for treatment and some of them were even first subjected to non-medical treatments,” Lastimoso said.

Dr. Edgardo Sandig, CIHSO chief, said residents should immediately seek consultation and treatment at the nearest health center at the initial onset of fever-like symptoms.

He noted that most of the dengue patients who succumbed to the disease this year were only brought to the hospital for treatment when their conditions had already worsened.

“Once dengue reaches the second and third stages, the hemorrhagic fever has already set in. The complications include gastro-intestinal bleeding, lowering of blood pressure and sudden drop of the blood platelet count. At this point, a patient will have a lesser chance to survive,” he said.

Sandig said the city government and the CIHSO is concentrating their interventions on lowering the number of dengue deaths in the city.

“This is a major concern for us because dengue deaths can be prevented. The disease can easily be treated in its early stages so it’s really important for our patients to seek early consultation and
possible treatment,” he said.

He pointed out that seeking early consultation was among the measures that were earlier adopted by the Department of Health under its 4-S strategy against dengue.

4-S stands for search and destroy, self-protection measures, seek early consultation and say no to indiscriminate fogging. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)