GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/26 July) — Health personnel in South Cotabato province warned residents regarding the presence of the four strains or serotypes of the deadly dengue fever in the area.
Dr. Alah Baby Vingno, assistant head of the Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO), said they have recorded infections with all four dengue serotypes in the province based on cases confirmed by the Department of Health (DOH).
The DOH initially found cases involving the four dengue strains in the area during an outbreak in 2016.
The provincial government declared a state of calamity late last week due to the rising cases of dengue, which was already above the epidemic threshold or reached the outbreak level last May.
Vingno said their monitoring showed that most of the current dengue cases in the province’s 10 towns and lone city are under serotype 1.
“But since the all four strains are already here, there is a possibility thastatet a person will be infected with dengue four times,” she said in an interview with reporters.
Vingno said the province presently lacks the equipment that will determine the strain of the dengue virus.
She said they submit samples to the DOH in Manila for the confirmatory tests.
As of July 22, the reported dengue cases in the province already reached a total of 3,664, with 21 deaths.
Koronadal City posted the most number of cases with 703, followed by Surallah with 478, Tantangan with 468, Banga with 391, Tupi with 347, Norala with 307, Polomolok with 276, Tampakan with 219, Tboli with 192, Sto. Nino with 174 and Lake Sebu with 109.
Dr. Rogelio Aturdido Jr., IPHO chief, said among the major reasons cited by experts for the sudden surge of dengue cases this year was climate change.
“The unexpected temperature is a chance for mosquito eggs to hatch in a shorter period and eventually causing more vectors to trigger outbreaks,” he said.
He urged residents to immediately inform the barangay health workers and officials if they have even a single case of dengue in their neighborhood.
“This will warn others about the possible spread of the virus,” he said.
At least 91 of the province’s 199 barangays have posted clustering of dengue cases and 18 were classified as hotspots.
The DOH’s epidemiology bureau defined clustering of dengue as three or more cases in a barangay in four consecutive weeks. (MindaNews)