State of calamity in Antique as dengue cases hit almost 1,600

A man uses a fogging machine to prevent the spread of dengue – a state of calamity has been declared in Antique to its rising number of dengue cases.
A man fogging to prevent the spread of dengue, which is spread by the Aedes mosquito (inset). The province of Antique has been placed under a state of calamity due to the rising number of dengue cases. (PHOTO: Public Health Image Library, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Antique has been placed under a state of calamity as the number of local dengue cases reached 1,581, with five deaths recorded, from January to July 9.

According to data from the Antique Provincial Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response Unit, this is five times higher than the 224 patients, including two deaths, over the same period last year.

The move follows a similar declaration by the municipal councils of Anini-y, Hamtic and Sibalom, due to the rising number of dengue cases, reported Inquirer.

Memorandum Order No. 60 of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) states that when two or more municipalities or cities are affected by a disaster, the provincial board, upon recommendation of the provincial DRRMC, may declare the entire province under a state of calamity.

The move will enable the Antique provincial government under Gov. Rhodora Cadiao to tap its remaining Quick Response Fund (QRF) for dengue prevention and response. The QRF would be used for, among others, misting and targeted indoor and outdoor spraying, dengue test kits and treatments.

The Department of Health (DOH) and Antique provincial health office will also focus on health education, fever surveillance, logistics, data management, and vector control in communities.

As of July 9, the capital San Jose had the highest number of dengue cases at 356, followed by Sibalom (267) and Hamtic (182).

Dengue is transmitted through the bite of the Aedes aegypti mosquito. It triggers a severe flu-like illness, and symptoms include severe headache, full-body aches, nausea and vomiting.

DOH OIC Maria Rosario Vergeire said more than 65,000 had been infected by dengue from January to late June, a 90% increase from the same time period in 2021, adding that 15 out of 17 regions in the country have already surpassed the epidemic threshold for dengue.

Vergeire explained that the number of dengue cases recorded in the 15 regions breached the expected number of infections based on past trends or figures in the previous years during the same period.