The Department of Health (DoH) sounded an alarm over the significant rise in cases of dengue fever in Northern and Northeastern Mindanao, citing 10 deaths out of the 1,406 persons reportedly downed by the mosquito-borne disease.
The DoH offices in Caraga region and Region 10 were already mobilized to help community health officers stop the spread of the dreaded disease, which has taken its toll mostly on children.
The patients are currently admitted at various hospitals in the cities of Butuan, Bislig, Surigao and Cagayan de Oro.
Health authorities believed that this sudden increase of dengue cases is due to the onset of rainy season.
New Health Secretary Dr. Enrique T. Ona said last Friday that he would pay more attention to local infectious diseases, dengue in particular, after cases of this mosquito-borne disease reflected a 45.3 percent increase this year as compared with the same period last year.
It was recorded that between January 1 and June 5 this year, dengue cases have climbed to 20,161 nationwide.
Ona cited figures from the National Epidemiology Center (NEC) showing that the death toll from dengue was at least 135.
Cagayan de Oro City owned up to at least five of these deaths in the city due to the disease from January to June this year.
This record does not even include those from the provinces of Misamis Oriental, Bukidnon and Camiguin.
Health officials in Caraga and Region 10 asked the local government units (LGUs) to mobilize their respective community leaders in the massive information campaign against dengue.
In Northern Mindanao, health officials said they had reason to believe there would be more dengue cases than last month.
Cagayan de Oro City Health Officer-Designate Dr. Jerry Calingasan encouraged local communities to use their “mosquito dwellings” and “practice cleaning of their surroundings.”
To date, at least five people, mostly children, died due to dengue in hospitals in the cities of Butuan, Surigao and Bislig and provincial and community hospitals in the four provinces and three other component cities in the region.
The fatalities included two from Surigao City and one each from Cabadbaran City, Magallanes, Agusan del Norte and San Francisco, Surigao del Norte.
Based on the DoH-Caraga disease surveillance report, Butuan had the highest number of dengue cases with 432, followed by Agusan del Sur with 202 and Surigao del Norte with 126.
Surigao City had 94 cases, Agusan del Norte had 80, Surigao del Sur, 72, Bayugan City, 39, Cabadbaran City, 23, Dinagat Islands, 14, Bislig City, 13 and Tandag City, 6.
They (health authorities) said majority or 53 percent of those afflicted with the mosquito-borne disease were male and 39 percent of the cases belonged to the age group 10 and younger.
“Fighting the spread of dengue does not only belong to the DoH and health workers but everybody’s concern, especially each family member,” said DoH Region 13 Director Leonita P. Gorgolon.
Some of the prevention tips are homes, schools and government and private offices should be kept free of mosquitoes by keeping water containers closed and their breeding places clean.
LGUs and other concerned government agencies, particularly barangay leaders “must help now” in the massive information drive against the spread of dengue, said Gorgolon.