COTABATO CITY -- The Department of Health (DOH) 12 (Soccsksargen) has reported that 26 persons have died of dengue fever from January 1 to May 18.
Jenny Panizales, DOH-12 focal person for dengue and measles prevention program, said they have been urging the public to help address the rising incidence of dengue, a highly preventable disease.
Panizales said DOH-12’s Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Unit (RESU) listed a total of 5,986 dengue cases as of May 18, marking a 164-percent increase compared with the same period last year.
North Cotabato has listed the most number of dengue cases with 2,215, compared with only 640 during the same period last year. It also has the highest number of fatalities at 11, followed by South Cotabato with eight. South Cotabato has recorded 1,752 dengue patients, compared with only 795 in 2018. Sultan Kudarat followed with 703 cases, up from 164 cases in the same period last year. Sarangani province has logged 618 cases compared with 253 in the same period last year; Gen. Santos City, with 425 (up from 264 last year); and Cotabato City, with 273 (up from 152 last year).
Panizales said three deaths were reported each in Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani, and one in Cotabato City.
“In 2018, we only had seven deaths during the same period. Now we have 26,” Ventura said, adding that DOH-12 Director Dr. Aristides Concepcion-Tan has ordered health workers at the front lines to work with other stakeholders to deal with the spread of the disease.
“We need everybody’s help in the campaign against dengue, especially the parents as DOH can’t do it alone,” Panizales said.
She reiterated the importance of the “enhanced 4S strategy” to fight and prevent dengue and three more diseases – malaria, chikungunya, and zika, which are all vector-borne diseases from mosquitoes.
Panizales said the enhanced 4S strategy are: Search and destroy dengue-carrying mosquitoes’ breeding places; Secure self-protection; Seek early consultation; and Saying “no” to indiscriminate fogging operations.
She could not say what triggered the dengue cases to dramatically increase, especially in North Cotabato, because the provincial health office there has been actively working against it.
Panizales noted that the incidence of dengue is no longer seasonal because even during the dry season, cases of dengue have been reported across the region.
Soccsksargen is composed of the provinces of South Cotabato, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, and Sarangani, and the cities of Cotabato, Kidapawan, Tacurong, Koronadal, and General Santos. (PNA)
Photo by James Gathany/CDC Public Health Image Library