Steep rise in dengue cases in parts of Mindanao alarm health authorities

According to the Ministry of Health, cases rose from 1500 to 2124 from July to mid-August, with an average daily infection of 48 cases.

Edwin O. Fernandez

Edwin O. Fernandez

Philippine Daily Inquirer


This undated photo released by National Institute of Infectious Diseases via Kyodo News, shows a tiger mosquito. Dengue fever is transmitted by mosquitoes. (AP Photo/National Institute of Infectious Diseases via Kyodo News) JAPAN OUT

August 26, 2022

MANILA — Health authorities have warned anew about rising cases of dengue infections in several areas of Mindanao, especially with the onset of frequent rains that leave pools of water that become breeding grounds for mosquitoes that carry the disease.

In the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, the Ministry of Health (MOH) appealed to residents as well as local governments to initiate cleanup drives to destroy the breeding grounds of dengue-carrying mosquitoes.

“To all Bangsamoro people, let us clean our surroundings, let us maintain cleanliness not only in our homes but also in our environment,” said Ron Aray, coordinator of the MOH’s dengue and emerging and re-emerging infectious disease program.

The MOH noted that the disease claimed its 30th victim in the region last Aug. 13. None died from the disease during the same period last year, the agency further noted.

From January to July this year, the MOH recorded 1,500 dengue cases. This rose by 624 cases, to 2,124 by Aug. 13, or an average daily infection of 48, raising alarm bells among health officials.

Some 1,145 dengue patients, or 54 percent of the total, were children aged 10 and below.

Data from the MOH’s Regional Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance Unit showed that 49 percent of dengue infections in the region were in Lanao del Sur, with 1,035 cases. This was followed by Cotabato City with 425 cases, Maguindanao 393, Tawi-Tawi 112, Sulu 90, and Basilan 69.

Aray said the MOH has been providing anti-dengue supplies like insecticides for the fogging operations to rural health units.

In Cagayan de Oro City, health officials have launched a massive information drive in the communities to raise awareness about the disease and how infections can be prevented.

The campaign came as dengue cases in the city spiked. From January to July this year, the City Health Office logged 972 cases, more than double the 358 recorded in the same period last year.

The cases peaked in June and July, with 218 and 236 cases, respectively. This went down to 82, so far, in mid-August.

City epidemiologist Joselito Retuya said with this number of dengue infections, Cagayan de Oro already breached the “alert level threshold” of 50 cases per week in the past three weeks.

Retuya is confident the information drive will help change public behavior regarding the disease and bring down the number of infections in the coming days.

City health officer Rachel Dilla said they are providing free fogging services to dengue-plagued communities upon the request of their barangay officials.

She reminded the public that “dengue is preventable so long as we remove the breeding ground of dengue-carrying mosquitoes which is stagnant water.” – With Ryan D. Rosauro

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