Dengue cases in R12 drop by 78%

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/17 June) – Dengue cases in Region 12 or Southwestern Mindanao have dropped by at least 78 percent in the last five months but regional health authorities are not slowing down anytime soon with their intensified campaign against the deadly virus.

Dr. Alah Baby Vingno, regional epidemeology and surveillance unit (RESU) coordinator of the Department of Health (DOH)-Region 12, said they have so far monitored at least 682 confirmed dengue cases within the region’s four provinces and five cities from January to May this year.

She said this year’s dengue incidence was “way lower” than the 3,123 confirmed cases during the same period in 2010.

“We’re below the alert level right now but we can’t afford to be complacent with this disease, especially with the onset of the rainy season,” Vingno said.

Citing RESU’s records, she said South Cotabato province posted the highest dengue incidence this year with 233 cases followed by North Cotabato with 145, General Santos City with 140, Cotabato City with 65, Sarangani with 64 and Sultan Kudarat with 35.

In 2010, South Cotabato recorded the second highest number of dengue cases with 2,443 and with at least six confirmed deaths.

North Cotabato topped the list with 3,976 cases and 18 deaths while Cotabato City posted the lowest incidence with 373 and one fatality.

Overall, DOH-12’s RESU recorded a total of 9,825 dengue cases in the region last year, which is 180 percent higher when compared to 2009 figures.

Dr. Rogelio Aturdido, South Cotabato health officer, said they have not slowed down with their campaign against dengue this year despite the significant drop so far in the number of confirmed cases in the area.

Based on the province’s updated dengue incidence as of June 16, he said they have already monitored 246 cases.

The municipality of Polomolok recorded the most number of cases with 108 followed by Koronadal City with 55.

But Aturdido pointed out the figures were lower by 69 percent based on the 799 cases recorded in the area during the same period last year.

He said they have not recorded any fatality from dengue so far, which is a significant improvement from the two dengue deaths in the same period last year.

“It mainly shows that our continuing campaign against dengue is really working. We’ll continue with our intensified efforts until we totally eliminate this problem,” Aturdido said.

Last year, various sectors joined hands with the local government and the DOH for the crafting of a comprehensive plan in combating dengue at the community level.

Such plan, which is being implemented in the area, covers the massive adoption by local communities of the DOH’s 4-S strategy against dengue and the strengthening of the monitoring systems of rural health units.

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