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Dengue ails 23,000

Health department: Surge in cases recorded in just one month

DENGUE cases surged by more than 23,000 from Aug. 9 to Sept. 5, records from the Health Department’s Bureau of Epidemiology showed.

From  Jan. 1 to Aug. 8, a total of 55,079 people across the nation were afflicted with dengue. The new numbers bring the total dengue cases so far to 78,808.

Earlier this week, the province of Cavite declared a state of calamity after it recorded close to 4,000 dengue cases with 16 deaths from January to September. The Bulacan provincial government also declared an “all-out war” on dengue after more than 4,000 cases and 10 deaths.

In Ilocos Norte, Laoag City officials expressed alarm at more than 400 cases that were recorded in the city since January. Just last week, at least 39 patients, four of them children from Barangay Talingaan, were taken to the Laoag City General Hospital on suspicion that they had dengue.

In the Cordillera region, nine towns in Apayao, Abra and Mt. Province declared dengue outbreaks as cases continue to rise, the Health Department’s entomologist and dengue program coordinator in the region, Ursula Segundo, said.

The towns of Luna, Flora and Sta. Marcela in Apayao province have also declared dengue outbreaks as cases of the mosquito-borne disease have risen. Last month, six towns declared dengue outbreaks in Tadian and Paracelis municipalities in Mountain Province, and in the towns of Luba, Villaviciosa, San Isidro and Pidigan in the province of Abra.

In Negros Oriental, the provincial health office reported earlier this month a dengue outbreak in the cities of Guihulgan and Canlaon with the Regional Epidemiological Survey Unit posting 176 cases, with Guihulngan City reporting more than 90 cases.

In a phone interview, Health Department spokesman Dr. Lyndon Lee Suy told The Standard that it is possible to have 20,000 new cases in a month, but said this might not be the accurate figure.

Since August and September are the peak months for dengue cases, he said, the huge increase in cases is very likely.

“I don’t want to sound an alarmist, but the over 20,000 rise in dengue cases in just one month was not the first time. We had the same increases the previous years. In fact, if we will check the DoH records, there were even higher figures in the past,” he said.

He also said that the numbers do not strictly indicate cases during a certain period, because earlier cases are incorporated in the totals.

“Dengue cases which happened in the months of June and July when the rainy season started were included in the records of August and September,” he said.

Furthermore, he said the current number of cases reported represent a 16.5-percent increase compared to the same period in 2014 when 67,637 cases were recorded.

Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) accounts for 11,894 cases, followed by Central Luzon with 11,806; National Capital Region, 8,099; Ilocos region, 6,501; and Central Mindanao. There were 233 deaths recorded.

In Cavite, health officer George Repique said the figure was 200 percent higher than the number of cases recorded in the same period last year.

In Bulacan, Gov. Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado appealed to residents to help fight the disease by searching for and destroying all possible breeding sites of dengue-carrying mosquitos.

But Lee Suy said the outbreak of dengue cases in the two provinces have been stabilized.

Dengue fever is an infectious disease carried by mosquitoes and caused by any of four related dengue viruses.

The multiple types of dengue fever is found in most countries of the tropics and subtropics, particularly during and after the rainy season.

Philippine Red Cross chairman Richard Gordon assured the public there is enough supply of blood, not only for dengue patients but for other cases as well.

He said if a local PRC chapter or blood facility does not have enough supply, the national headquarters could coordinate with the nearest Red Cross blood center to send the blood.

“We just sent 45 bags of blood to Marinduque which has no local blood bank,” Gordon said.

Gordon said the PRC has fully mobilized its Cavite chapter to augment medical facilities in the province. Aside from moving enough blood supply and testing facilities there, PRC is setting up a 100-bed tent with IV fluids and blood supplies at the General Emilio Aguinaldo Hospital grounds.

“We can set up a full service emergency hospital in the field should, if God forbid, the situation warrants it,” Gordon said.

The Philippines is one of four countries in the Western Pacific which reported the highest dengue incidence in recent years. With PNA

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