By Philippine News Agency
PALO, Leyte — At least 13 people in Eastern Visayas died due to dengue fever during the first four months of the year, more than double than deaths from this mosquito-borne disease in 2017, the Department of Health (DOH) reported.
DOH Assistant Regional Director Paula Paz Sydiongco said in an interview Wednesday that the report is alarming since there could be more deaths from May to December.
“Last year we only had five deaths and this year we already have 13 deaths. That is 160 percent higher.”
From January to April, the region recorded 1,066 cases with one-year-old as the youngest and 82 years old as the oldest patient. The number of persons who got dengue was lesser during the same period last year, but the DOH official has no record for comparison during the interview.
Most cases were noted in the provinces of Leyte and Northern Samar and in the cities of Ormoc, Calbayog, and Tacloban.
DOH regional epidemiology and surveillance unit head Roderick Boyd Cerro said more victims died during the first four months of the year due to lower cases in 2017.
“When there’s no dengue outbreak in a community, people are complacent and they don’t seek early consultation even if they are already suffering dengue symptoms,” Cerro said.
Sydiongco said the major strategy to combat dengue is to conduct dengue prevention campaign with the Department of Education, parents, and community leaders. This is on top of providing logistics to local health workers.
Other strategies of the health department to combat rising cases are intensified mosquito control efforts, coordinate with local government units in information drive, conduct fogging and spreading larvicide in areas with clustering of cases, install dengue express lanes in hospitals, purchase and preposition of fluids.
Dengue fever is marked by an onset of sudden high fever, severe headache, and pain behind the eyes, muscles and joints. Some may develop rashes and varying degree of bleeding from various parts of the body.