By: Emme Rose Santiagudo
DENGUE cases in the Iloilo province is at an all time high with 2,453 infected persons including 12 deaths in just the first six months of this year, according to the Provincial Health Office (PHO).
PHO data indicated a 597 percent increase in dengue cases and deaths in 2019 compared to the only 352 cases with one death in the same period last year.
According to Dr. Patricia Grace Trabado, Provincial Health Office (PHO) head, five towns and a component city in the province all registered three-digit spikes in dengue cases.
Passi City has the highest number of cases with 225, followed by Pototan (197), Concepcion (173), Ajuy (126), Santa Barbara (116), and Calinog (161).
“Concepcion has the highest number of deaths at three, followed by Pototan, Banate, and Bingawan with two deaths and New Lucena, Santa Barbara, and Pavia each with one death,” Trabado said.
Despite the increase in dengue cases and deaths, Trabado said they have yet to declare an outbreak.
“May rise siya of cases pero kon lantawon mo sa mga banwa, indi man gid taas pero ang ining mga municipalities nga ara sa top 10, previous year nga record daw amo man. As of now, indi man kita ka declare epidemic province wide kay indi pa man whole municipalities ang may clustering of cases,” she explained.
While health workers and local officials are intensifying anti-mosquito misting and spraying activities, Trabado said there is a need for community participation in the “search and destroy” of the breeding sites of the mosquitoes which spread the infection.
“Although naga-ubra ang mga local officials and health workers, kinahanglan gid dako nga participation sang mga tawo maskin dira lang nga search and destroy. Tani ang mga pumuluyo ma-involve gid sa aton campaign nga search and destroy,” she said.
Trabado underscored the challenge of searching and destroying the breeding sites of the mosquitoes, especially that some areas cannot be covered by the misting and spraying process.
“Usually the process of misting and spraying is effective on indoors. Sa field, medyo challenge, kay kawayan and kahoy pwede ma-itlogan kag sa field abi indi ma-cover sang misting amo na masearch and destroy kita, pangitaon naton ang mga areas nga pwede mangin potential breeding sites,” she said.
The “Search and Destroy” is among the “4S Strategy” campaign of the health department to target the breeding sites of the mosquitoes.
The other strategies are “Self Protection”, “Seek Early Consultation” and “Say Yes to Fogging” as the last resort.
Meanwhile, Trabado said dengue patients are entitled to fast lanes in the provincial hospitals.
She added that they can also avail of “no balance billing” in Rural Health Units (RHUs) and provincial hospitals.