GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/18 August) – The Department of Health (DOH) in Region 12 or Southwestern Mindanao is closely watching at least five villages in this city and nearby Polomolok town in South Cotabato due to the noted clustering of dengue cases since last month.
Dr. Abdullah Dumama, DOH Region 12 director, said Thursday their latest monitoring showed that an average of three or more cases of dengue infection have emerged during the last four weeks in Barangays Labangal, Lagao and San Isidro here as well as in Barangays Poblacion
and Cannery Site in Polomolok.
The DOH’s National Epidemiology Center defined clustering of cases as the emergence of three or more cases in a barangay in four consecutive weeks.
Last month, the DOH central office placed South Cotabato and the cities of General Santos and Cotabato as among the 18 areas in the country under its dengue watchlist.
But based on the dengue monitoring report released by the regional epidemiology and surveillance unit, Dumama said the overall dengue incidence in the region has continued to decline compared to last year’s records.
Region 12 covers the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Cotabato, Tacurong and Kidapawan.
From January 1 to August 13, he said they have recorded 1,501 confirmed cases of dengue in the entire region or 82 percent lower compared to the 8,253 cases during the same period last year.
North Cotabato topped the list with 467 cases followed by South Cotabato with 414, General Santos City with 269, Sarangani with 152, Cotabato City with 141 and Sultan Kudarat with 58.
He noted that the confirmed dengue deaths also decreased to 12 cases this year from 39 cases last year.
Nine of the dengue deaths this year came from this city, two from Sarangani and one from Polomolok, Dumama said.
He said records showed that the mosquito-borne disease mainly infected children aged 10 years old and below with 612 cases or 41 percent followed by the 11 to 20 years old age range with 438 cases or 29 percent.
“(But) most cases were (still) below the alert threshold,” the official stressed.
Dr. Jacinto Makilang, City Integrated Health Services Office chief, earlier said the city government has been conducting continuing information and awareness drives at the community level to help contain the disease and prevent further infections, especially among
He said they also distributed mosquito Ovicidal/Larvicidal (OL) traps, a simple device developed by the Department of Science and Technology to help control the population of the dengue-carrying Aedes aegypti mosquito.
In South Cotabato, health personnel have been conducting house-to-house campaigns in Polomolok to promote and encourage the observance of the DOH’s 4-S strategy as well as the cleanup or elimination of possible breeding places of the dengue-carrying mosquitoes.
4-S, which is part of the DOH’s “Kontra Dengue” plan, stands for Search and destroy, Self-protection measures, Seek early consultation and Say no to indiscriminate fogging. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)