Public urged to practice 4S as dengue cases increase by 864%
posted 29-Jul-2019  ·  
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With suspected dengue cases in Catanduanes increasing by an unbelievable 864% compared to the previous year, the Provincial Health Office has urged the public to practice prevention measures against the mosquito-borne disease.

Under the enhanced 4S strategy of the Department of Health, barangay residents are encouraged to Search and Destroy breeding places of the Aedes aegypti mosquito and cleaning up the premises; resort to Self-Protection Measures by wearing appropriate clothes and using mosquito repellant; Seek Early Consultation in case of fever continues for two days and rashes occur; and, Say “yes” to fogging only during outbreaks.

The other Monday, PHO officials sent to Acting Governor Shirley Abundo, San Andres Mayor Peter Cua and DOH-5 Regional Director Dr. Ernie Vera a follow-up report on the ongoing intervention of the San Andres Rural Health Unit on the reported cases of dengue in the town.

PHO II Dr. Hazel Palmes has sent PHO I Dr. Franchette Amabella Panti and Provincial Epidemiological Survey Unit nurse coordinator Daisy Flores to the island’s second biggest town to conduct actual visits to the hard-hit barangays as well as the Juan M. Alberto Memorial Hospital, and to conduct environmental survey, case investigation and validation.

The report showed that out of the 38 barangays, 30 have had at least one case of dengue from Jan. 1 to July 12, 2019, with the total number of cases reaching 283 in the town.

Barangays Carangag (37), Alibuag (35), Comagaycay (30) and Datag (27) accounted for 45% of the dengue cases. Clustering of cases was also noted in Esperanza.

From a high of 23 cases on the week from June 2 to July 12, the number of cases began to rise, peaking at 67 on the last week, the PHO report stated.

The local health officials said the 67 cases are in the process of validation to verify if they are in fact according to the standard case definition of dengue cases.

The 283 dengue cases reported from San Andres represents 38% of the total 752 cases in Catanduanes, the report stated.

“Comparing with the cases reported in the same period last year, there is an 864% increase in the number of reported cases of dengue in the province,” it claimed. “With last year’s data, we cannot rule out under-reporting of cases.”

The report did not give the figure for 2018 but using the claimed rate of increase and the 2019 total yields a figure of just 78 dengue cases in Catanduanes for the previous year during the same period.

The PHO said the increase in dengue cases may be attributed to the onset of the rainy season, as rainfall provides places for eggs and larva development.

“Efforts to eliminate adult mosquitoes must be properly coordinated,” it stressed. “Community-based interventions for dengue control must be sustained and that the cooperation of all households is encouraged.

Stagnant water in creeks, uncovered/partially covered water-filled containers, piled-up water-holding plastic containers and tires were some of identified potential breeding sites of mosquitoes, the PHO said.

The PHO report comes just a week after the DOH regional office reported a 55% increase in the number of dengue cases in the first six months of the year in the six Bicol provinces, with 1,828 already stricken this year compared to 1,177 during the same period in 2018.

Twenty-two of the patients died, it said, region with seven deaths each in Albay and Camarines Sur, followed by Sorsogon with five, and one apiece in Masbate, Camarines Norte, and Catanduanes.

Health officials here, however, clarified that no one has died so far in any of the reporting sentinel health facilities in the island and raised the possibility that one patient from Catanduanes was brought to the mainland and may have died there.

Last week, a resident of Legazpi City was reported to have succumbed to the disease in a Virac hospital but the incident, along with the 131 new cases for the week, is still up for confirmation.

With the DOH declaring a national dengue alert, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo M. Año has called on all local government units to immediately undertake clean up drives to eliminate all mosquito-breeding areas to stop the spread of dengue in their respective areas.

Based on the preliminary report on suspect dengue cases as of July 13, 2019, the total number of such cases by municipality are as follows: Bagamanoc, 13; Baras, 9; Bato, 28; Caramoran, 64; Gigmoto, 16; Pandan, 11; Panganiban, 8; San Andres, 325; San Miguel, 20; Viga, 85; and, Virac, 274.

The figures for the towns for Morbidity Week 28 covering July 7-13 have yet to be confirmed along with the 64 recorded for Virac on MW 27.

In the capital town, the newly-reconstituted Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council chaired by Acting Mayor Arlynn Arcilla (Mayor Sinforoso Sarmiento is on official leave of absence) met last week to discuss the recent clustering of cases in the adjoining barangays of Bigaa, Valencia and Cavinitan.

Municipal Health Officer Dr. Elva Joson disclosed that the RHU records show a total of 203 suspected dengue cases in Virac as of July 13, 2019, with San Isidro Village (30), Bigaa (23), Cavinitan (17), Calatagan Proper (15), Danicop (12) and Sto. Niño having the most number of cases so far.

Of the total cases, only 7 were infants less than one year old, with 138 belonging to youths less than 20 years old with the following age groupings: 5-9 years old, 46 cases; 10-14 years old, 33; 15-19 years old, 28 and, 1-4 years old, 24.

Dr. Joson said an intensified Information and Education (IEC) campaign has been undertaken in the hotspot barangays along with the distribution of insecticides and instructions on how to conduct misting.

Last week, the RHU conducted a Dengue Summit with the concerned barangay officials, barangay health workers and Department of Education staff as participants.

She recommended that the IEC be continued for all 63 barangays in the town along with a regular clean-up drive and weekly 4S implementation.

Aside from requesting additional insecticides from DOH and PHO, Joson asked the council for additional funding for the purchase of medicines as the RHU’s funding is now down to just P75,000 which she said is just good for 300 dengue patients.

She likewise suggested the creation of an Dengue Task Force that would monitor actions taken, particularly the strict implementation of the dengue prevention ordinance in every barangay.

“Kung hindi gagalaw ang barangay, baka magka-outbreak talaga tayo,” Dr. Joson told Vice Mayor Arcilla and the council members, which acceded to her recommendation that a meeting of the Liga ng mga Barangay be called this July 24 to discuss the matter.

There is no cure for dengue but hydration and preventive measures, including proper nutrition to boost one’s immune system, she stated, adding that malnutrition in young children and older persons will make them susceptible.

As every barangay has a deployed health worker, suspected dengue cases should be immediately referred to the RHU for the free NS1 tests, with immediate hydration done at the barangay level if the patient is not admissible for confinement. Daily monitoring of blood for hemoglobin and platelet levels should likewise be done to forestall complications, the MHO said.

Under the standard definition of dengue cases, a suspect dengue case is a previously well individual with acute fever of 1-7 days duration plus two of the following symptoms: headache, body malaise or weakness, retro-orbital (eye socket) pain, myalgia (muscle pain), arthralgia (joint pain), anorexia, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, flushed skin, or rashes.

A suspect dengue case becomes “probable” after the RHU conducts a Rapid Diagnostic Test (also called the Dengue NS1 antigen test), which became available locally only last year, and Complete Blood Count (CBC) test.

Specimens are then sent to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Muntinlupa City for confirmation.

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