Dengue death toll in Davao Region reaches 40

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/18 July) – Forty deaths caused by dengue have been reported in Region 11 from January to July 15 this year, the Department of Health regional office said.

DOH 11 said there were 4,524 cases recorded as of July 15, or an increase of 145 percent over the 1,850 cases that resulted in seven deaths for the same period last year.

Davao City registered the highest number of cases (1,648) and eight deaths, followed by Davao Oriental with 1,052 and eight deaths, Davao del Norte with 913 and 14 deaths, Compostela Valley with 620 and seven deaths, and Davao del Sur with 291 and three deaths.

Speaking in Monday’s Kapehan sa Dabaw at SM City, Engr. Antonietta Ebol, program manager of Dengue Prevention and Control of DOH 11, blamed the spike on both the region’s rainfall pattern and the long drought.

She said the larvae of Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes, the carrier of dengue viruses, would hatch faster during hot season and become adult mosquitoes fast during rainy season.

She called the figures are alarming, and urged the barangays and families to take proactive measures to battle the disease.

“The vector dengue-carrying mosquito is highly domesticated and can be found inside and outside houses, buildings and offices,” she said.

Ebol said the information drive on dengue should be intensified by practicing the “4’clock habit”, or destroying possible breeding sites, self-protection measures, early consultation at hospitals, and fogging.

“One of the indicators is the inspection of the houses in the barangays. Most of the households have three to four containers positive with Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes. If there are no larvae, there would be no mosquitos, or maybe in one week time, the number of mosquitoes would decrease,” she said.

Symptoms of dengue include sudden onset of high fever which may last from two to seven days, joint and muscle pains and pain behind the eyes, weakness, skin rashes, nose bleeding when fever starts to subside, abdominal pain, vomiting of coffee-colored matter, dark-colored stools, and difficulty of breathing.

7 cases of Japanese Encephalitis

DOH 11 reported seven cases of another mosquito-borne disease called Japanese Encephalitis in the region this year.

Rommel Santos, nurse 3 of Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Unit of DOH 11, said Davao City had two cases, Davao del Sur had three, and Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley had one each..

All seven patients were already discharged from the hospitals.

The Japanese Encephalitis is caused by an abovirus that infects humans and even domestic animals, birds, bats, snakes, and frogs, Ebol said, adding the virus affects the central nervous system and causes severe complications and even death.

She said Culen tritaeniorhynchus, a type of mosquito that carries the virus, thrives “mostly in rural-growing and pig-farming regions.”

Asked if the migratory birds that live in the rice fields could have probably transmitted the virus, Santos said the cases of Japanese Encephalitis is not new in the region but they are not discounting the possibility of avian transmission.

“As you notice the areas where the victims came from are rice fields,” she said.

A press briefer said infected patients would usually show symptoms such as a flu-like illness that would appear six to eight days after the bite, tiredness, headache, nausea and vomiting, and confusion and agitation which can occur in the early stage.

Only the symptoms and complications caused by the disease can be treated as there is still no specific treatment for the Japanese Encephalitis and antibiotics are not effective against viruses, it added. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)