DOH to ‘plantitas’: Shake plants, remove stored water to prevent dengue

·3 min read

DEPARTMENT of Health (DOH)-Central Visayas officials urged the public, especially the “plantitas and plantitos” (those who love planting and gardening), to make sure there are no stored water in containers to prevent breeding of dengue-carrying mosquitoes.

The reminder came as the health office noted a continuing increase in the number of dengue cases in the region, with 3,557 cases reported from January 1 to May 14, 2022.

The DOH-Central Visayas said this is 324 percent higher compared to the 839 cases recorded in the same period in 2021.

Dr. Ronald Jarvik Buscato, medical officer of DOH-Central Visayas, said dengue cases spike every three years and the increase usually starts in the summer months, probably due to stored water in containers.

“People tend to, especially in areas where there is no stable water supply, they usually stock their water. They usually keep their water in a covered container,” he said, aside from those that are not properly closed and left anywhere.

Dr. Eugenia Mercedes Cañal, cluster head of the Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (Resu)-Central Visayas, advised the plantitas and plantitos to shake their plants, particularly those with leaves that could store water.

Buscato said mosquitoes only need at least five milliliters (mL) of water in order to lay and hatch at least five to six eggs.

The three highly urbanized cities of Cebu, Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue topped the list of local government units (LGUs) in Central Visayas with the most number of dengue cases from January 1 to May 14, 2022.

Data from Resu showed that Cebu City logged the highest number of cases with 731, of which 11 are deaths.

Lapu-Lapu City has 639 cases, six of whom succumbed to the disease, while two were reported dead in Mandaue City out of the 236 cases.

As of May 14, a total of 3,557 dengue cases were reported in the region with 31 deaths, bringing the case fatality rate to 0.9 percent.

In the same period last year, there were only 839 cases with four deaths, and a case fatality rate of only 0.5 percent.

Buscato said majority of the cases are males, although this is not statistically significant.

They also noted the increase in cases in Central Visayas around March or first week of April, and this exceeded the “epidemic threshold” around April 17.

Epidemic threshold is when there is a 10 percent increase in the number of dengue cases compared to cases logged five years ago, said Cañal, adding that when there is only five percent increase, it is considered “alert threshold.”

But Cañal clarified that there is nothing to be wary of despite the numbers exceeding the epidemic threshold, considering that it is a cumulative data for Central Visayas.

“We may experience in some of the LGUs that it increases in numbers, but then again, it did not reach the alert threshold,” she said, adding that they could not also say that there is an outbreak if the number has not uniformly increased.

She also clarified that the data they have in Cebu City was more on the admitted cases, citing some of the cases are not even from the city.

This also explains the difference between the DOH-Central Visayas data and that of the Cebu City Health Department, she added.

Cañal urged the LGUs to be vigilant and not wait for their cases to reach the alert threshold.

Buscato also clarified that it is the call of the local chief executives to declare an outbreak based on the existing data.

He added that the mitigation response of the possible outbreak would be the responsibility of the LGUs. (MKG)

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