Almost 2,000 dengue cases recorded in Baguio City in 7 months

BAGUIO CITY –- Dengue cases in this mountain city increased to almost 2,000 for the first seven months of the year, the Department of Health–Cordillera Regional Office (DOH-CAR) revealed Thursday.

DOH-CAR Director Lakshmi Legaspi said based on epidemiology reports, dengue cases in the region have been increasing since 2014.

To date, from January to July, there are 1,199 cases with one casualty – a 57-year old male from Barangay San Luis – compared to just 239 last year and no casualty, Legaspi said.

Baguio is above the alert level, she added, and the department is closely monitoring that it does not reach the epidemic level and become an outbreak.

Local government officials led by Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan, DOH-CAR leadership and representatives of the City Health Services Office (CHSO), re-launched the 4 o’clock habit and conducted actual “search and destroy” activities and demonstrations on mosquito breeding sites early Thursday morning in selected areas.

The DOH-CAR is going around hospitals to check on the institution’s capabilities, and in the process, activating the “fast lanes” for dengue patients to be attended immediately, Legaspi said.

“We will never be successful in our fight against Dengue with no concerted effort,” she added.

The city officials agreed to Legaspi’s call for a “concerted effort” in the fight against dengue.

Baguio City Vice Mayor Edison Bilog recommended to tap school teachers to ensure that schools have clean surroundings.

Bilog further appealed for a voluntary action from students to clean their surroundings daily.

Bilog said an anti-dengue ordinance had been filed and is now pending at the City Council. The ordinance included provisions for penalties which will be placed in a Trust Fund for use in anti-dengue activities.

He is hoping that the bill will be passed before the end of 2016.

Baguio City Councilor Joel Alangsab said the alarming status of dengue incidents in the city is an eye-opener to focus on prevention than cure.

The objective is to reduce cases in 2017, to be coordinated with other concerned agencies, he said.

Alangsab suggested that anti-dengue activities be included in the criteria for judging in the ongoing search for the Cleanest and Greenest Barangay.

Baguio City Health Services Officer Rowena Galpo said the CHSO is conscientiously performing its task reminding the public to exercise the 4 o’clock habit daily.

The CHSO meets with the barangay officials and health teams as part of community efforts for anti-dengue campaign.

Temporary misting of mosquitoes in clustered areas in the city is ongoing, Galpo said.

Misting in clustered breeding sites may be helpful when done at the time when mosquitoes are active, particularly within two hours after sunrise or within two hours before sunset, she said.

Segundo said “Misting” is better than “Fogging” because “Fogging” use diesel fuel mixed with pesticide while water and pesticide are used in Misting.

Both practices kill mosquitoes on the spot when successfully done, Segundo said, but reports have it that both is not recommended because the pesticides which may be harmful to humans.

Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center Medical Specialist Thea Cajulao reported that BGHMC is attending to an average of 50 dengue patients a day.

Fast lanes were opened to closely monitor patients and possible patients for early diagnosis and treatment.

Due to the continuous influx of dengue patients, some were sent home with proper medical instructions and advised to come back for follow-up treatment and monitoring.

Cajulao said dengue is manageable when diagnosed early and there is no need to panic.

When fever continues to develop accompanied by diarrhea, she advised to seek medical attention immediately. PNA/