GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/08 August) – The number of confirmed deaths due to dengue fever in Region 12 or Southwestern Mindanao continued to rise in the past several weeks and has reached 11 as of end-July.
Jane Ventura, health education officer of the Department of Health (DOH)-Region 12, said the agency’s regional epidemiology and surveillance unit (RESU) reported that dengue cases in the region from January to July this year has so far reached 1,192, increasing by 510 cases since the onset of the rainy season in early June.
She said the total number of dengue cases have gone down by 83 percent compared to last year but the confirmed deaths have almost doubled in just about a month or from six cases last June 25 to 11 cases as of the last week of July.
In seven months last year, DOH-12 recorded 7,143 cases of dengue and at least 30 related deaths.
Region 12 covers the provinces of North Cotabato, South Cotabato Sarangani, and Sultan Kudarat and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan, and Cotabato.
“We may have made significant improvements in terms of the total dengue incidence this year but we still can’t afford to relax or be complacent,” Ventura said in a radio interview Monday.
South Cotabato posted the highest dengue incidence in the region as of end-July with 391 followed by North Cotabato with 245, General Santos City with 233, Sarangani with 138, Cotabato City with 134 and Sultan Kudarat with 51.
In terms of dengue deaths, General Santos City topped the list with eight followed by Sarangani with two and South Cotabato with one.
In the same period last year, General Santos City only recorded two confirmed deaths due to dengue complications.
Ventura said they have continued with their intensified campaign against dengue in the region, especially on the strict observance of the agency’s 4-S strategy.
4-S stands for search and destroy, self-protection measures, seek early consultation and say no to indiscriminate fogging.
Ventura said residents should watch out for impounded water in gutters, idle water containers, tires and water catchment facilities.
“The dengue-carrying mosquitoes usually breed in clean or clear waters such as those in vases and other water containers and catchments found in households and in the surroundings,” she said.
Ventura said they are also expanding the distribution of anti-dengue treated mosquito nets to elementary and high schools in the region.
She said they earlier piloted the initiative in at least 33 schools and is now preparing for its expansion to 14 other schools in the region.
Late last month, DOH 12 and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) launched the distribution of Ovicidal/Larvicidal or OL mosquito traps to help reduce the population of dengue-carrying mosquitoes in areas that have posted rising cases of dengue infection.
The mosquito OL trap system, which was developed by the DOST’s Industrial Technology Development Institute, is a simple device that helps reduce the number of the dengue-carrying female Aedes aegypti mosquito by trapping and eventually killing its eggs through Ovicidal-Larvicidal treatment.
DOST officials said the mosquito OL trap system, which was launched earlier this year, has shown favorable results in terms of controlling the population of the female Aedes aegypti based on laboratory and field tests that it had conducted. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)