Dengue cases drop in Region 12

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/23 April) – Dengue cases in Region 12 or the Soccsksargen Region have dropped by 40 percent in the last three months as the region remained below the alert or epidemic threshold of the deadly mosquito-borne disease.

Dr. Marlyn Convocar, Department of Health (DOH) Region 12 director, said Monday their records as of April 21 showed that dengue cases in the region have reached 452, or around 300 fewer than the confirmed incidence in the same period last year.

Region 12 covers the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.

“There were no clustering of cases (in any part of the region) and the confirmed cases since January were considered under the alert threshold,” Convocar noted in a report released over the weekend by the regional epidemiology and surveillance unit (RESU).

The DOH’s National Epidemiology Center said a clustering of dengue cases happens when three or more confirmed cases emerge within an affected barangay or community in four consecutive weeks.

But Convocar said they already monitored four confirmed dengue deaths this year compared to only three last year.

This city and nearby Sarangani province reported two deaths each from complications caused by dengue shock syndrome, which comprised just one percent of the confirmed dengue cases, she said.

About 43 percent of the cases were plain dengue fever while 56 percent developed into dengue hemorrhagic fever.

The official said North Cotabato posted the highest dengue incidence with 137, followed by General Santos City with 102, South Cotabato with 78, Cotabato City with 59, Sarangani with 43 and Sultan Kudarat with 33.

The RESU report showed that Cotabato City’s dengue incidence increased by 7 percent or 55 to 59 cases when compared with last year’s records. This city and Sarangani posted a drop of 12 and 26 percent, respectively, but the confirmed dengue deaths in both areas increased by a case each.

Dr. Edgardo Sandig, City Integrated Health Services Office (CIHSO) chief, earlier said the city has remained on alert against possible dengue outbreaks due to the erratic weather condition in the area.

The CIHSO has been closely watching Barangays City Heights, Labangal, Apopong and San Isidro here due to the rising cases of the deadly viral disease.

The four villages, which host several housing subdivisions and crowded residential communities, have registered significant cases of dengue in the last several years based on the CIHSO’s records. Sandig said their intensified campaign against dengue within the city’s 26 barangays is currently ongoing as set by the DOH’s 4-S strategy.

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