MALAYBALAY CITY -- Deaths caused by suspected dengue cases in Bukidnon tripled in 2018 compared to the previous year, the chief of the Provincial Health Office (PHO) said Thursday.
Suspected deadly mosquito bites killed six in 2017 but the figure increased to as high as 24 last year when the province recorded 6,935 suspected dengue cases, Dr. Ricardo Reyes said. In 2017, the province only recorded 2,171 suspected cases.
Reyes made it clear that the PHO term "suspected" indicates that some cases are still being verified, and no conclusion has been made.
PHO data showed that Malaybalay City led in the number of deaths with five, followed by Valencia City with four.
Quezon town reported three deaths, and Malitbog and Kadingilan have two each, while the towns of Damulog, Don Carlos, Kalilangan, Kibawe, Manolo Fortich, Maramag, Pangantucan, and Talakag have one each.
Most of the deaths belong to the 1 to 5 age group.
Reyes said highly-urbanized and populated areas contributed to a large number of dengue cases, led by the cities of Malaybalay and Valencia.
Among the municipalities, Maramag, Quezon, and Manolo Fortich are in the top three with high cases.
“As observed, the peak time of dengue occurrence usually happens during rainy months,” he said.
He said the PHO has already conducted and facilitated misting and fogging operations in barangays of several municipalities as an immediate response to reported dengue deaths and the rise of dengue cases in the areas.
Reyes said the onset of dry season may lead to a dramatic drop in dengue cases, but warned against people's tendency to store water where dengue-carrying mosquitos can still lay eggs.
The PHO head said "cleanliness in our surroundings, proper disposal of empty containers and the elimination of breeding sites in our homes" remain the most effective prevention measures against dengue.
Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral disease that is transmitted by female mosquitoes mainly of the species Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. This mosquito also transmits chikungunya, yellow fever, and Zika infection. (PNA)
Photo from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention