South Cotabato’s provincial council decided to declare the province in a state of calamity last July 19, 2019. There are reported 3,347 dengue cases from January 1 to July 13, 2019, according to the provincial health office.
The dengue cases double this year from 1, 344 casualties last year during the same period. South Cotabato declares a state of calamity due to the alarming increase of dengue cases in the province.
Dengue cases rise in five towns of South Cotabato
There are 21 deaths of dengue cases in South Cotabato province that the health officials reported. The five towns in South Cotabato: Surallah, Tantangan, Norala, Banga, and Santo Niño, declares a state of calamity before the province did.
“The rise in dengue cases is alarming. Our public and private hospitals are being crowded mostly by dengue patients.” Vice Governor Vicente de Jesus said.
The capital of South Cotabato, Koronadal City, hospitals reported that there are not enough hospital rooms due to the growing number of patients. The Allah Valley Medical Specialists Center and Dr. Arturo P. Pingoy Medical Center already run out of empty rooms for dengue victims.
The cases are above the epidemic threshold
The sudden increase of the dengue cases is 146% higher compared last year. It is said to be ‘above the epidemic threshold’ of the province.
South Cotabato’s provincial government initially provides P5 million fund for the dengue fever outbreak. The said fund will be used to purchase necessary things to address the problem of dengue cases.
“It will be used for the purchase of necessary logistics like fogging and misting machines, biologics and the conduct of massive information and education campaign,” Lawyer Renette Bergado, provincial administrator and acting head of the PDRRM Office, said.
Dengvaxia vaccine as the factor of increasing dengue cases
The DOH said they are currently observing the conditions of Dengvaxia vaccinees. They are considering that the Dengvaxia vaccine might be a factor in the sudden growth of dengue cases this year.
“Congress gave the DOH ample funds to monitor the health condition of children who received Dengvaxia shots. Surely, the department should be able to provide us a detailed report in a future hearing,” Surigao del Sur Representative Johnny Pimentel said.
“In fact, all government-run hospitals are supposed to check if a child being brought in for suspected dengue infection had previously received Dengvaxia shots,” Pimentel added.
Prevention is still better than cure
The DOH urges citizens to help and volunteer in the ‘barangay dengue brigades.’ These help to educate citizens on how to avoid dengue and recognize its early signs and symptoms.
Fogging, conducting dengue awareness campaigns and destroying the potential breeding place of mosquitoes will be helpful to avoid dengue. As they said, ‘Clean environment is still the best solution.’
“We will be prioritizing areas for community-based intervention to control dengue vectors such as areas where there are a clustering of dengue cases, occurrence of an outbreak in the past year, recent dengue-related deaths, vector indicators, and presence of cases in schools and hospitals.” Regional Director Eduardo C. Janairo said.
“There is still no vaccine for dengue. The best way to prevent dengue virus infection is to take the necessary precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes and consult a doctor immediately if suffering from a high a fever.”