But not reason to panic: Province declares dengue outbreak
Kristine B. Quintas (The Freeman) - October 11, 2016 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - The Cebu Provincial Board yesterday declared a dengue outbreak all over the province, echoing an announcement of the Provincial Health Office amid a recent "abnormal" surge in dengue cases.

All local government units are urged to intensify campaigns on dengue prevention and control. The public, too, is encouraged to participate in massive cleanup operations in places identified as breeding grounds of mosquitoes like areas near creeks, rivers, and other waterways and crop fields where informal settlers build houses with poor sanitation.

 Board Member Christopher Baricuatro, chairman of the committee on public health and social services, clarified that the declaration does place the province under a state of calamity.

 "This is just a declaration that there is a dengue outbreak. This resolution acknowledges the threat of dengue and its purpose is to increase awareness so people will better prepare and control the spread of dengue," he said.

 "With the alarming upsurge of dengue cases, there is a necessity to immediately address and prevent further increase of dengue cases in the province as dengue is best managed by risk reduction," he added.

 Davide echoed Baricuatro's statement, saying the declaration is meant only to inform the public and not cause any alarm.

 He said the public has the right to know about the status of dengue cases so that residents in the province can also take action like clean their own surroundings.

 Baricuatro said the top 10 towns and component cities, according to frequency of dengue cases, are Toledo City Balamban, Carcar City, Liloan, Talisay City, Consolacion, Danao City, San Fernando, Naga City and Cordova based on the records of the Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (RESU).

 Board Member Victoria "Tata" Corominas-Toribio has suggested that areas with high number of dengue cases should be the only ones covered by the declaration but PHO chief, Dr. Rene Catan, said almost all towns and cities in Cebu are affected by dengue.

"As early as 2011 to 2014, the kind of increase and decrease in the number of cases has been going on. It has fairly established that in 3 to 4 years dengue actually increases to a certain point. In 2014, 2015 and early 2016 there was a rapid increase in the number of cases from then 3,000 to a peak of 5,700 cases to date," Catan told the board yesterday.

 Catan said the prevalence of dengue cases has reached 5,505 as of September 24 2016, which is 224 percent higher compared to last year's 2,834 cases.

 But 200 more cases were reported from September 25 to 30 all throughout the province, he said.

 "The dengue cases started to rise as early as August this year," he said.

 He said the current prevalence is the highest in six years with 55 deaths recorded throughout the province, an increase of 204 percent compared to last year.

 He said the case fatality rate or the number of people dying because of dengue over the midyear popular is equal to 1.04 percent, which is quite higher compared to the 0.9 percent of the National Objectives for Health 2016 target.

 He said the prevalence rate is 114 for every 100,000 population. He added that the attack rates are "very high" ranging from 6.4 to 600.3 per 100,000 population.

 According to the RESU report, Cebu City posted the highest number of cases, with 2,024 and 13 deaths, almost double last year's cases with 1,077 and eight deaths.

 Mandaue City followed with 658 cases and 13 deaths; Toledo with 545 and four deaths; Balamban 459 with two deaths and; Lapu-Lapu City with  439 cases and eight deaths.

 Most of the dengue victims were 10 years old and below.   World Health Organization defines outbreak as an occurrence of cases in excess of what should normally be expected in a defined community, geographical area or season.

 With the declaration of outbreak, the PHO can utilize part of the funds of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office for its operations.

 At present, the province has P46.83 million left in its coffers that can still be utilized for any disaster and emergency response operations.

 Catan said cleanliness remains to be the best way to prevent the proliferation of dengue carrying mosquitoes.

4S

 Also yesterday, the board also approved a resolution urging the people to religiously follow the 4S, which stands for search and destroy, self-protection, seek early consultation and say "no" to indiscriminate fogging, which is not advisable as it only kills the adult mosquitoes and not the eggs.

 Board Member Miguel Antonio Magpale said it came to their attention that citizens have overlooked the possibility of getting mosquito-borne disease, ignoring the 4S championed by the DOH.

 "This August body appeals to the people of the Province of Cebu to follow the mechanisms presented by the DOH so as to prevent the detrimental effects of mosquito-borne diseases," he said. (FREEMAN)

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