Dengue fever outbreak: a global issue

By: Dr. Rex Casiple

THE latest data from the Department of Health – Center for Health Development in Region 6 (DOH-CHD) showed that death caused by Dengue rose to 94 in July 2019. Or a total of 18,834 cases related to dengue recorded from January to July 2019, which is 259% higher compared to the same period in July 2018.

Hospitals in the province of Iloilo cannot accommodate the number of people with dengue. Hence, gyms in some towns here in the province of Iloilo were converted into temporary medical facilities for patients. Western Visayas Region still is number one with the highest number of dengue cases, followed by Calabarzon and Central Visayas. This is very alarming.

Prevention is better than cure. I would like to commend the effort of the Department of Education (DepEd) in the Province of Iloilo in conducting a synchronized “Brigada Kontra  Dengue” program; to some colleges and universities in conducting fogging/spraying in hotspot areas inside their respective campuses  and to the media people for airing and publishing materials to avoid Dengue fever, especially the 4S Against Dengue.

Also, massive clean-up drives were conducted in many barangays; and schools, colleges and universities in the city and province of Iloilo to address and destroy mosquito breeding grounds .Amidst the outbreaks in many parts of the region, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) assured sufficient supply of blood for dengue patients. For so many years in the past, dengue fever is one of the country’s major health concerns especially to our school children who are vulnerable for the diseases.

Dengue fever prevention and control is a global issue. In Bali, Indonesia a hospital published a booklet that provides detailed information about the protection and prevention measures of the disease or the spread of Dengue. In this booklet are photographs, graphs, and drawings explaining preventive measures regarding the breeding of mosquitos in stagnant water and its potential to promote the disease.

In Macao, steps were done in schools to eliminate stagnant water to prevent the breeding of mosquitoes; and they used means to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.

In schools, a designated employee is appointed to coordinate with mosquito prevention; gardeners pay special attention to stagnant water in decorative pots or flower pot plates that are not found easily; trash such as beverage cans and lunch boxes, etc. are disposed of properly; drains are kept unclogged; inspection of the entire school area are conducted once a week in order to eliminate mosquito breeding sources; if necessary, windows and doors in classrooms are installed with mosquito nets; schools are allowed to hire pest control companies to provide mosquito prevention and other disease vector services; and if any employee or student displays symptoms of fever or rash, etc. medical assistance is sought promptly.

In Cambodia, dengue fever continues to be a major public health problem among children. Community health education is provided through health center outreach activities and campaigns. Strategies to fight dengue were developed to include a wide range of activities, information, practices, and behavior regarded as important to control dengue and reduce mortality.

Community health education is provided through radio, television, billboards, banners, flipcharts, posters and leaflets. Specific health education materials to support individual, household and community strategies for dengue control are produced by the Health Education Unit (HEU).

The incidence of dengue has grown dramatically around the world. Studies showed that an estimated 3.9 billion people in 128 countries worldwide are at risk of infection with dengue viruses. One estimate indicates 390 million dengue infections per year worldwide, 96 million of which manifest clinical severity.