By John Noel E. Herrera
The Department of Health (DOH)-6 recorded over 400 dengue cases in Western Visayas in January 2023 alone.
Data from DOH-6 Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (RESU) released on Feb 4, 2023 indicated that dengue cases in the region increased to 453, which is 175 percent higher compared to the 165 reported cases in the same period in 2022.
Negros Occidental posted the highest number of cases so far with 124 dengue cases, followed by Iloilo province with 90; Aklan (70); Antique (49); Capiz (43); Iloilo City (38); Bacolod City (30), and Guimaras with nine cases.
Despite having the highest recorded cases so far, Negros Occidental Provincial Health officer Dr. Ernell Tumimbang said that dengue cases in the province are lower compared to the same period last year.
Aklan, on the other hand, showed a significant spike in its cases this year compared to only three cases in 2022.
Tumimbang also said that the drop in dengue cases was due to the interventions made by the health sectors and the local government units (LGUs), citing that they were severely affected by the mosquito-borne disease last year.
Four persons succumbed to dengue in the region, which include two in Iloilo City and one each in Capiz and Bacolod City, while 24 barangays in the region have a clustering of cases.
The Iloilo City Health Office (CHO) reminded the public, especially adults, to immediately seek medical attention when experiencing dengue symptoms, as one of the two reported dengue deaths in the city was a 28-year-old male from Brgy. Calajunan in Mandurriao district.
“So reminder lang gid kay kadasig, sa mga adult usually amu na, kis-a hilanat lang, ti gina dala-dala, waay naga pacheck-up,” Dr. Roland Jay Fortuna said.
“Sa iban gani daw mas okay pa ya ang bata gid kay daw gahambal pa kung ano ang nabatyag no, unlike sang adults ya nga gina dala-dala lang nila, especially ining 28 years old, siguro gin dala-dala ya lang so sang hindi na gid kagwanta, that’s the time nangayo magpa-hospital,” Dr. June Francis Omani added.
Some mild symptoms of dengue include fever, headache, nausea, rash, aches and pains in eyes, muscles, joints and bones, and feeling tired, restless or irritable, while severe symptoms include belly pain, tenderness, bleeding from the nose or gums, and vomiting blood or blood in the stool.
Fortuna also emphasized that the alert threshold and epidemic threshold of the city for 2023 is lower compared to previous years, and a sudden spike in dengue cases this year could lead to an outbreak.
In Iloilo province, IPHO head Dr. Maria Socorro Colmenares-Quiñon appealed to the public to monitor their surroundings and practice preventive measures for their own safety as dengue cases in the province also increased.
She added that the IPHO has already started to distribute dengue test kits to all rural health units and hospitals in the province for early detection of possible dengue cases.
The DOH-6 encouraged the public to follow the 4S strategy (search and destroy breeding places, seeking early treatment, self-protection measures, say yes to fogging) to prevent the possible surge of dengue cases in the region and avoid any province or city declaring an outbreak.