Bukidnon lists dengue as 2013 top health agenda

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/12 June)— The Bukidnon Provincial Health Office (PHO) considered dengue as a top priority health agenda in 2013, especially because the number of cases is expected to rise this year, provincial health officer Dr. Ricardo Reyes told MindaNews.

Reyes said that while the province does not yet consider the dengue situation as an outbreak, health workers have already alerted the “dengue brigades” throughout the province in preparation for the big tasks ahead.

He cited population congestion as among the contributors to the rising dengue cases in the area along with climate change and environmental conditions.

Reyes said they will give premium on prevention and will ask the community brigade volunteers to destroy mosquito breeding grounds rather than the province depending or resorting to fogging.

“(The latter) is expensive and if not carried out well could be not as effective,” he added.

The Department of Health (DOH) in Bukidnon said that at least 183 cases were recorded across the province from January to May 2013. Four children out of the 183 cases have died due to dengue fever in the same period last year.

Engr. Florissa Adviento, PHO environmental and occupational health services chief, said the dengue alert level among rural health units has been raised to “urgent and priority.”

Adviento said that PHO personnel will hold a meeting on June 17 to put together a “collective action” to combat dengue, a mosquito-borne disease.

Romy Sulit, field operations officer of DOH-Bukidnon mosquito-borne disease control program, said that since 2003, dengue has been observed to have followed a “two- to three-year pattern” in the surge of number of cases.

In 2003, there were a total of 17 deaths due to dengue out of the 818 cases reported in the province. In 2004, it went down to less than 300 cases. In 2005, it surged to 1,437 cases with 19 deaths, records showed.

The number of cases then went down in 2006 only to increase to 1,449 cases with 14 deaths in 2007.

In 2008, Bukidnon saw the lowest number of cases since 2003 at 122 cases with two deaths. But in 2009, it bounced to 705 cases with 10 deaths.

Dengue cases were supposed to go down in 2010 given the “two-year down pattern,” Sulit said.

That year, however, saw the dengue cases soar to 1,643 with 31 deaths, the highest registered in almost a decade in the province.

In 2011, the cases went down only to go up to 563 in 2012 with 14 deaths.

“We expect the cases to soar this year, that’s why we are extra-prepared and careful,” Sulit said.

The DOH cited that “the two-year pattern of high dengue occurrence has been observed because of different strains of dengue.” (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)