Dengue cases down in CAR but still alarming

BAGUIO CITY -– Department of Health – Cordillera Regional Office (DOH-CAR) Medical Officer Alexei Marrerro on Thursday said the number of dengue cases in the region is decreasing but is still in an alarming level.

Marrerro said there are 8,558 cases recorded as of September 24 or a 16 percent increase compared to the same period last year.

The figures showed a slight decrease from 25 percent two weeks ago, Marrero added.

“Cases normally rise during the rainy months of May to August and start slowing down in September,” Marrerro said.

In the same interview, DOH-CAR Entomologist III Ursula Segundo said the female Aedes aegypti mosquito, the main vector that transmits the virus that causes dengue, is now found to be highly adaptive with changes in temperature and environment.

“Clusters can now be found in urban areas as much as in the rural areas and they can now breed in the clean portion of dirty waters,” Segundo said.

“The peak used to be during the rainy season, but now, mosquitoes adapted to breed until the summer,” she added.

Segundo said the DOH and Saint Louis University (SLU) are conducting a larvicide assessment in the locality to kill the vector mosquito.

In the conduct of the assessment, they found out that a larvicide labelled “Kiti-kiti X” (mosquito larvae X) tested very effective in helping reduce the mutation of the vector mosquito.

“The assessment of Kiti-kiti X is helpful in the reduction of dengue mosquitoes,” Segundo said.

“The calcium-based larvicide powder (calcium hydroxide plus clinoptilolite) is added to ovitraps to kill mosquito larvae before they develop into adult mosquitoes.

The larvicide remains effective for four (4) weeks,” she added.

City Health Services Office (CHSO) Medical Officer Nelson Hora said that after a series of vector surveillance and information, education campaigns (IECs) in barangays and schools in Baguio, they found out that the leading breeding sites of vector mosquitoes are drums with water, followed by pails with water, and the water-retaining leaves of fortune plants and bromeliads.

Hora also recommended schools to use pyrethroid-based insectides to treat their curtains and to conduct regular search and destroy activities twice daily.

“Search and destroy activities should be done applying the 9:00 o’clock and 4:00 o’clock habit as the vector mosquitoes are highly infectious two hours after sunrise and two hours before sunset”, he added.

Hora reiterated that Dengue symptoms are very much like those of flu and advised the public not to wait for rashes to appear as these do not always manifest in all persons who have contracted the virus.

Hora said laboratory exams are free for suspected dengue patients at the CHSO. PNA – northboundasia.com