Dengue cases in Surigao City highest in 10 years

SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews / 30 Oct) – Dengue cases here have reached unprecedented levels in the last 10 years, with 501 cases for the last 10 months wherein 3 patients died, according to the City Health Office.

Garosfe Menor, CHO dengue program coordinator, noted that the number is expected to increase some more by year’s end, especially since many residents seem not to hear the health office’s plea to clean their surroundings and thus prevent the spread of the mosquito-borne disease.

She cited that the next highest incidence in the last 10 years was in 2004, when the number of cases reached 429 with 6 fatalities. The number of cases rose and dropped in the succeeding years; last year, the CHO documented 255 cases with 2 deaths.

This year, Barangay Washington topped the number of cases with 104; followed by Barangay Luna, 70; Barangay Taft with 63 cases; Barangay Canlanipa, 57; and San Juan, 56.

Menor said dengue cases normally occur from September to January.

She is worried because people seem not concerned with the CHO’s aggressive campaign against dengue is concerned. “It’s as if they don’t hear our pleas to clean their surroundings,” Menor added.

Jessica I. Nepomuceno, the CHO’s communicable disease cluster coordinator, said that aside from radio plugging, they have reproduced handouts they got from the regional office of the Department of Health “4 o’clock habit” and shared this to the different villages as part of their information drive.

According to the DOH’s website, the 4 o’clock habit is the “back-to basics STOP, LOOK & LISTEN approach.”

Health Secretary Enrique T. Ona said that the preliminaries for this campaign include mapping out high risk areas in a locality, organizing teams that will undertake critical response activities and establishing a system of communications for better coordination and sustained cooperation.

“STOP means ‘dropping’ everything and shifting current task for mosquito control. LOOK means that around 4 o’clock and until next hour, assigned teams carry out systematic ‘search and destroy’ activities that will identify and eliminate mosquito-breeding sites. LISTEN entails heeding the instructions from local authorities, community leaders, or work supervisors for synchronous implementation of the 4 o’clock habit. This can be done on a daily basis, or at least on a weekly basis based on institutional capacity and prevailing resources,” the DOH website said.

Nepomuceno said they want to bring this to the attention of the public so they don’t have to get infected with the deadly disease.

Health workers also visited the victims’ houses, checked the surroundings for locations where mosquitoes could breed.