ILOILO – The Provincial Health Office (PHO) recorded 2,193 dengue cases – with six deaths – last year from Jan. 1 to Dec. 22.
The municipality of Dumangas had the most number of cases at 232 but with no deaths, said PHO chief Dr. Patricia Grace Trabado.
The Dumangas dengue patients immediately sought medical help so their illness did not worsen, she said.
Dengue hemorrhagic fever is an acute mosquito-borne viral infection that affects infants, young children and adults.
The symptoms, which usually begin four to six days after infection, include sudden, high fever, severe headaches, pain behind the eyes, severe joint and muscle pain, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, skin rash which appears two to five days after the onset of fever, and even mild bleeding (such a nose bleed, bleeding gums, or easy bruising).
The nine other towns with the highest number of dengue cases were Janiuay (171, with two deaths), Ajuy (151, with two deaths), Calinog (130, with one death), Passi City (107), Oton (103), Pototan (95), Pavia (90), Sara (77), and Leganes (61).
The 2018 dengue cases were 65 percent higher than the 2017 cases, said Trabado.
PHO recorded 1,331 dengue cases with eight deaths in 2017. Oton had the most number of cases (107) followed by Passi City (104).
The PHO expects the number of cases of further increase this year.
Every three years Iloilo province experiences a surge in dengue cases, according to Trabado.
Iloilo last experienced a dramatic rise in cases in 2016 – 9,381 cases with 22 deaths.
Trabado stressed the importance of observing the 4S strategy in combatting dengue:
* search and destroy mosquito breeding places
* self-protection measures
* seek early consultation for fever lasting more than two days
* say “no” to indiscriminate fogging
Trabado also urged barangay officials to take the lead in implementing the Barangay Kontra sa Dengue program – a community-based mass cleaning program targeting the breeding grounds of dengue mosquitoes.
Dengue mosquitoes Aedes albopictus and Aedes egypti live and breed in clear, stagnant water.
Towns with the least number of dengue cases were Tubungan (one), Igbaras (four), Banate (10), Guimbal (13), and Barotac Viejo (16), said Trabado.
All the 43 municipalities and the lone component city of Passi in this province have dengue cases, PHO data showed.
It was announced just this November 2018 that Western Visayas was one of three pilot regions for the rollout of a new and locally developed technology for diagnosing dengue.
Biotek-M, rapid dengue test kit, had been approved for clinical use by the Food and Drug Administration, according to Dr. Raul V. Destura, the molecular microbiologist who developed this new dengue test.
This locally developed technology was also less costly, he added.
“I am very proud that the Department of Health is adopting it. We were here a couple of months ago kasi tini-train namin ang mga medical technologists ng Western Visayas,” said Destura who spoke at the 3rd Western Visayas Health Research Conference held in Iloilo City on Nov. 7.
The development of Biotek-M was fully funded by the government through the Department of Science and Technology and University of the Philippines.
The rapid dengue test kit is intended to reach marginalized sectors, particularly via barangay health centers, according to Destura.
The two other pilot regions for Biotek-M were the Ilocos Region and the Zamboanga Peninsula./PN