BUTUAN CITY — The number of dengue fever patients in Caraga region reached 6,788 last year, surpassing the cases recorded in 2017 by 158 percent, the Department of Health (DOH) said.
The DOH-Caraga dengue surveillance report showed that the cases reported by health units in the region’s four provinces and six cities were up from the 2,631 cases registered in the previous year, according to Romy Torralba, DOH regional information officer.
Surigao del Sur province reported the most number of cases at 2,030. It was followed by Agusan del Sur province, with 1,688 cases, and Surigao del Norte, 771. Bislig City had 506 cases, while Surigao City had 412.
The DOH also noted that 473 cases were reported in the region in December alone.
That month, Surigao del Sur registered 169 cases, while Agusan del Sur had 95. Surigao del Norte province recorded 71 cases; Dinagat Islands, 47; and the city of Bayugan, 32 cases.
“One of the significant areas in the report was recorded for Barangay Mahanub in the town of Gigaquit in Surigao del Norte, which recorded nine cases from Dec. 2 to 8 and then jumped to 31 cases from Dec. 9 to 15.
A team from the regional office was immediately sent to the area to provide assistance to the local government,” Torralba said.
The DOH said 22 people died from the mosquito-borne disease last year, up from 13 fatalities in 2017.
It said the spike was part of a three-year cycle that the health office had been observing in recent years.
“Data from previous years showed that there had been a trend, indicating that dengue cases peak every three to five years,” said Dr. Glee Valenzona, head of the DOH-Caraga infectious diseases cluster.
The number of cases recorded in 2017, at 2,631, was the lowest since 2014.
The DOH said 8,252 cases were recorded in 2014, but the number went down to 6,590 in 2015 and rose again to 8,099 in 2016.
“We already monitored the increase since May 2018. What we immediately did was to coordinate with the facility of our local governments. We are also pushing the barangays to support our antidengue campaign,” Valenzona said.
The DOH urged residents and local officials in the region to join community cleanup activities, focusing on waterways and areas with stagnant water, and conduct fogging to destroy breeding areas of mosquitoes and stop the spread of the disease. —Erwin Mascariñas
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