By Jan Carlo Anolin
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Friday said the “national dengue alert” was declared to raise public awareness on this health threat.
“They should be [aware]. We should all be alarmed. That’s the objective of having declared a national dengue alert status. [It] is to precisely raise public awareness of this threat,” Duque said in an interview with CNN Philippines on Friday.
The Department of Health (DOH) declared a national dengue alert last July 15, the first time it was done following the spike of the mosquito-borne viral disease. Duque said the dengue surge happens every three to four years.
READ MORE: DOH declares nat’l dengue alert
From January to June this year, the health department recorded around 106,630 dengue cases nationwide, 85 percent higher or about 57,000 cases more than the figure reported in the same period last year.
Based on the current pattern, Duque said the number of dengue cases in the country could reach at least 200,000.
He expressed concern that the country might encounter the same crisis experienced in 2016, 2013, and 2009 if precautionary measures are not taken into consideration.
“[This is the] first time to declare [a national dengue alert] aligned to the alert system that has been adapted by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC),” the DOH chief said.
“But technically, if you are on an alert level, you have several regions which are classified under Code Red, which means that they have breached the epidemic threshold,” Duque.
Currently under Code Red, a response activation alert for full mobilization, are Region IV-A (Calabarzon), Region V (Bicol), Region VI (Western Visayas), Region X (Northern Mindanao), and Region IX (Zamboanga Peninsula).
Code Blue Alert, on the other hand, means that the regions have breached the alert threshold with 50 percent agency resource mobilization.
Regions under Code Blue are Region I (Ilocos), Region II (Cagayan Valley), Region IV-B (Mimaropa), Region VII (Central Visayas), Region VIII (Eastern Visayas), Region XI (Davao), Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), and Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).
In the National Capitol Region, Duque said the dengue cases went down gradually by 21 percent, compared to the first half of last year.
This is due to the relatively late rainy season and long months of drought, Duque said.
To help contain dengue, Duque reminded the public of the “4-S Method” which stands for Search and destroy mosquito breeding places; Secure self-protection measures; Seek early consultation; and Support fogging/spraying only on hotspot areas where increase in cases is registered for two consecutive weeks to prevent impending outbreak.
Since there is no medicine, antibiotics, anti-virals, and vaccine for the mosquito-borne disease, Duque said hydration is the mainstream intervention for dengue.
“Sometimes just giving them hydration would already quickly reverse the infectious process and [prevent] it from entering into a dengue with complication stage,” Duque said.