Davao City highest in dengue, measles cases in Region 11 – official

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/31 March) – The city has the most number of reported cases of dengue and measles in Region 11 from January to March this year, a health official said Monday.

Dr. Cleofe Tabada, chief of the Department of Health’s (DOH) Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Unit (RESU) said the city accounted for 688 of the 1,052 cases of dengue and 476 of the 683 cases of measles in the region for the first quarter.

Talomo North registered the highest incidence of the diseases in the city, with 93 cases of measles and 158 cases of dengue, Tabada said during the Kapehan sa SM Monday.

The district reported no death due to measles, although the city accounted for four of the five deaths in the region. The other death was reported in Davao del Norte. Three of the victims were children 0-4 years old.

Three of the five recorded dengue deaths were of children five to nine years old. One death was that of a teenager and another of a 40-year-old, the RESU said.

Tabada advised parents to have their children vaccinated against measles at the nearest barangay health center. She said the DOH has provided P100 million for the massive anti-measles vaccination of children aged 0-4 years old, who are more vulnerable to the disease.

She added parents should take their children to the hospital once the signs either measles or dengue appear.

There is neither vaccine nor cure for dengue.

Tabada, however, said the amount would not be enough for the whole region. She said that aside from the vaccines the amount will cover training and other operating expenses.

DOH dengue program manager Antonietta Ebol meanwhile said the dengue program seeks to involve the barangays in information dissemination as well as social mobilization activities such as pulong-pulong (meetings) and weekly cleanup drives.

She added barangay councils should also enact ordinances to prevent dengue, such as destroying places where Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, the disease carriers, likely breed.

She said the DOH conducts a monthly monitoring of ovi-larvae traps and long-lasting insecticide-treated curtains for 22 barangays in Davao City.

Some schools like the Mintal Elementary School and Bago Oshiro Elementary School were also given the mosquito repellant curtains in 2013.

The DOH aims to train more district health officers on epidemic contingency planning for 2014, Ebol said.

According to the World Health Organization, dengue is a mosquito-borne viral infection that causes a flu-like illness and occasionally develops into a potentially lethal complication called severe dengue.

The global incidence of dengue has grown dramatically in recent decades, the WHO added.

Dengue is found in tropical and sub-tropical climates worldwide, mostly in urban and semi-urban areas.

WHO also cites measles as one of the leading causes of death among young children even with the availability of vaccines.

“In 2012, there were 122 000 measles deaths globally – about 330 deaths every day or 14 deaths every hour,” it said.

“Since 2000, more than 1 billion children in high risk countries were vaccinated against the disease through mass vaccination campaigns ― about 145 million of them in 2012,” it added. (MindaNews)