ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/19 April) – The city health officer here has urged barangay officials and residents to strengthen campaign against dengue fever, a mosquito-borne disease, as he revealed that cases in this city have more than doubled compared to last year.
Dr. Rodel Agbulos disclosed that they have documented 547 dengue cases from January 1 to April 17, as compared to 200 cases during the same period last year, or a whopping a 173.5-percent increase.
Eight died in 2011 but only four in 2012.
Agbulos said areas with high reported dengue cases are barangays of Tumaga, Tugbungan, San Roque, Tetuan, Guiwan and Sta. Maria, which are located within a seven-kilometer radius.
“The dengue situation is at an alarming level but it has not reached alert or outbreak level,” the city health officer said, stressing that the situation can be addressed with intensified cleanliness drives to eliminate breeding places of dengue carrier mosquitoes and stepped up advocacy campaign.
“We call on barangay officials to initiate dengue clean-up drives and to mobilize the students under the Special Program for the Employment of Students (SPES) to help in the campaign,” Agbulos added.
He has also instructed the city government doctors, nurses and midwives assigned in the rural health centers to come up with effective campaigns against dengue in their respective areas.
Dengue is transmitted by the bite of an Aedes mosquito infected with any one of the four dengue viruses.
Symptoms appear 3 to 14 days after the infective bite ranging from mild fever to incapacitating high fever, with severe headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pains, and rash.
Other signs of dengue fever include bleeding gums, severe pain behind the eyes, and red palms and soles.
It is important to maintain hydration since there are no specific anti-viral medicines for dengue, Agbulos said. (MindaNews)