THE news could have buoyed us a bit amid the weight of this health crisis. Department of Health Central Visayas (DOH-CV) spokesperson Mary Jean Loreche announced that the region is in a better state this year as far as dengue statistics is concerned, compared to last year’s figures.
Loreche disclosed that from January to August this year, the DOH recorded 9,688 dengue cases with 27 mortalities. This, she said, is 41.16 percent lower than last year’s. What is, however, not mentioned in Loreche’s report is that in August last year, the DOH declared a national dengue epidemic. Around this period last year, the number of dengue cases soared at record level.
To recall, in June this year, the DOH reported a 2.34 percent increase in the number of dengue cases in the same period last year. Dr. Ronald Jarvik Buscato, DOH-CV dengue program coordinator, said the agency recorded 31 dengue deaths, raising the case fatality rate (CFR) to 0.3 percent or three-folds higher than the agency’s dengue program goal of keeping the CFR at 0.1 percent.
Buscato said we are “off-course.” The Philippines has a dengue case pattern of spikes every three years, and thus a 2020 tip careers from the beaten track after the 2019 epidemic.
While the agency hauls a big part of its energy into the Covid-19 crisis, the dengue program may bear the brunt. Buscato said the agency’s dengue vector surveillance has been on hold, depriving it of clearer updates on vector behaviors in the communities.
Loreche, on the other hand, said it is premature to conclude a full drop in dengue cases at this point in the year. We are still entering into the damp months, a “flu season.” It is best that the local government units continue to push for vaccination.
Best, indeed, to take to heart the 4S mantra against dengue: search and destroy; self-protection; seek early consultation; and say no to indiscriminate fogging.
The Covid-19 protocols are limiting enough, but the citizens have to take note of the dengue cautionary set as well.
Buscato said the rise in dengue cases could be attributed to the pandemic, in which people are required to stay at home. The dengue-causing mosquito, the aedes aegypti, is an indoor type of vector.
All being said, it is important for community officials to play the important role as well of fighting against dengue, a crucial role while we’re fighting a terrible enemy on one front. We can’t obviously deal with another layer of complexity in our health crisis.