EDITORIAL - WILD disease alert

EDITORIAL - WILD disease alert

(The Philippine Star) - June 20, 2021 - 12:00am

There’s another virus that continues to cause illness and even death in this country, and cases usually spike during the rainy season. The Department of Health has warned that dengue cases could rise in the coming months as mosquitoes carrying the virus thrive in stagnant water. With the start of the monsoon rains, the DOH is urging the public to take precautions against the “WILD” diseases: water and food-borne illnesses, influenza, leptospirosis and dengue.

Hysteria over the world’s first dengue vaccine, Dengvaxia, has contributed to vaccine hesitancy even against COVID-19. But there are other ways of avoiding the potentially deadly disease, starting with clean surroundings.

COVID quarantines, health safety protocols and the shift to distance learning have been cited as reasons for a sharp decline in dengue illnesses and deaths since the start of the pandemic. Economic activities are being revived, however, and more people are allowed to leave their homes even for non-essential activities.

With the heavy rains, floods are common, and they can carry rodent urine that causes leptospirosis if the pathogen enters lacerations or open wounds. The DOH is urging people to have sufficient protection against dirty water.

People are also warned to ensure that they drink clean water and consume food prepared under sanitary conditions, to avoid diarrhea, typhoid fever and cholera. Hospitalization is difficult in the time of COVID, and these diseases borne by mosquitoes, contaminated food and water can cause death.

The DOH is espousing a so-called enhanced 4S strategy to prevent dengue: search and destroy mosquito breeding places, self-protection, seek early consultation when symptoms emerge, and support fogging or spraying when a spike in cases is registered in a particular area for two consecutive weeks.

These are simple enough to follow. People are already used to abiding by health protocols to prevent sickness and death caused by COVID. It will be unfortunate if coronavirus infection is avoided, and then to catch and possibly succumb to the WILD diseases.

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