LEGAZPI CITY -- Health officials in Bicol are continuously finding ways to address measles and dengue cases that continue to rise to alarming levels, prompting the Department of Health (DOH) office in the region to sustain its “red flag” health alert status.
DOH data indicated that during the first semester of this year, measles cases rose to an unprecedented rate of 1,401 percent as compared to the same period last year.
Dr. Ernie Vera, acting DOH regional director, said Tuesday that 1,261 cases, all involving children, were reported from January to June 2019. Fifteen of the victims succumbed to the disease.
There were only 84 measles cases reported during the first semester of last year.
This year, Camarines Sur has the highest number of cases with 406, followed by Albay – 373; Sorsogon – 243; Masbate – 162; Camarines Norte – 59; and Catanduanes – 17. One case is a transient coming from an undisclosed area, the report said.
The DOH advised the public to be vigilant and to refer anyone showing symptoms of measles to the nearest health facility for early diagnosis and prompt case management.
Measles symptoms include cough, colds, red eyes, fever, and skin rashes.
Meanwhile, dengue has claimed the lives of 22 people in Bicol this year, Vera said.
Quoting reports from DOH surveillance units, he said dengue cases continue to rise with a total of 1,828 during the first half of this year as compared to last year’s 1,177, showing a 55-percent surge.
Camarines Sur has the highest number of cases with 876, followed by Albay with 321; Sorsogon – 291; Masbate -- 131; Camarines Norte -- 126; Catanduanes – 81; and transients - 2.
DOH record showed Albay and Camarines Sur had seven deaths each followed by Sorsogon with five, and one each in Camarines Norte, Catanduanes, and Masbate.
The DOH has also declared “Dengue Hotspots” in two villages in Naga City in Camarines Sur and one in Gigmoto town in Catanduanes.
To control and prevent the spread of the mosquito-borne disease, the Health department reiterated its call to residents to practice the 4S strategy: Search and Destroy mosquito breeding places, Self-protection measures, Seek early consultation for fever as early as one day, and Say yes to fogging as a last resort when there is an impending outbreak. (PNA)