Dengue alert up in GenSan after 5 deaths in 154 cases

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/8 June) – Health authorities here have raised the alert level against the deadly dengue fever as the number of confirmed cases and related deaths in the area continued to increase in the last several weeks.

Dr. Edgardo Sandig, City Integrated Health Services Office (CIHSO) chief, said Friday they have so far recorded 154 confirmed dengue cases and five deaths within the city’s 26 barangays since January, breaching the alert threshold set by the Department of Health (DOH).

He said such figure was eight more than last year’s incidence during the same period, which totaled 146 and only four deaths.

“We’re now in the alert level but I think our overall situation is manageable. Dengue can be prevented and we can effectively contain it through regular cleanup of our surroundings and proper healthy practices,” he said in a radio interview.

Based on CIHSO and DOH Region 12’s records, two dengue patients have died in the city in the last two weeks.

The latest fatality was a 23-month-old baby from Purok Magnolia in Barangay Calumpang here who succumbed earlier this week to complications caused by dengue hemorrhagic fever at the city district hospital.

The victim, who was identified as Charisse Sofia Barile, died after suffering from recurring fever and influenza-like symptoms for about a week.

Sandig said their monitoring showed that Barangays Labangal, Calumpang and San Isidro have posted the most number of confirmed dengue cases in the city this year.

He said all five dengue fatalities came from the three villages, which host a number of crowded residential communities.

He said their health teams have been conducting health education sessions and regular cleanup drives in the affected communities to help prevent further spread of the disease.

Sandig said they were also making rounds of local public and private schools to raise awareness on various measures against dengue among students, pupils and school personnel.

The campaign, he said, is centered on the Department of Health’s (DOH) 4S strategy against dengue that stands for search and destroy, self-protection measures, seek early consultation, and say no to indiscriminate fogging.

A report released by the regional epidemiology and surveillance unit of DOH Region 12 cited that Barangay Labangal here was among the six barangays in the region that monitored a clustering of dengue cases as of May 26.

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.

Meantime, the DOH-12 reported that it has already recorded 1,137 confirmed dengue cases in the region as of last June 2.

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

The report said such figure was four percent higher than last year’s count in the same period that only reached 1,095 dengue cases.

Aside from the five dengue deaths in this city, two each were also recorded in North Cotabato and Sarangani Province and one in South Cotabato or a total of 10 cases.

It added that the dengue cases in the region were already “above the alert threshold.” (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)