South Cotabato residents warned against dengue with onset of rainy season

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 17 June) – Dengue cases in South Cotabato province have dropped significantly in the past several months but health workers advised residents to remain alert due to the onset of the rainy season.

Jose Barroquillo Jr., mosquito-borne diseases coordinator of the Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO), said they have monitored an increase in mosquito population in local communities these past weeks that could eventually trigger a surge in cases of the deadly disease.

Such trend was seen in the province in the previous years, especially in the outbreak during the rainy season last year.

From Jan. 1 to June 12, the IPHO already recorded a total of 589 dengue cases and three related deaths within the province’s 10 towns and lone city.

Barroquillo said such figure was about 77 percent lower than the 2,548 cases, with a dozen deaths, reported in the same period last year.

He said the municipality of Tantangan posted the most number of cases with 97, followed by Polomolok with 96, Banga with 87 and Koronadal City with 85. The three deaths were from Banga, Polomolok and Tboli towns.

Clustering of cases was monitored in the past several weeks in Barangay New Iloilo in Tantangan, he said.

Citing their observation, Barroquillo said more mosquito eggs have been hatching as breeding places practically increased due to the almost daily rains.

“But we can stop this by regularly cleaning up our surroundings of all possible mosquito breeding places,” he told reporters.

He urged barangays to continue with the implementation of “operation kulob” or searching and destroying mosquito breeding areas in local communities.

All households were also enjoined to observe the measure at least five minutes daily, he said.

Barroquillo said it is important to remove all clean stagnant water since the aedes aegypti mosquito, the main vector that transmits the dengue virus, is an “artificial breeder.”

“They can breed even in soft drink caps and other containers inside our homes,” he said.

He added that the prevention activities should be a community effort as possible dengue-carrying mosquitoes can travel as far as 400 meters. (MindaNews)