ILOILO – The island barangay of San Fernando in the northern coastal municipality of Carles has been placed under a state of calamity due to rising dengue cases.
In just two months (May and June) the village recorded 65 dengue cases, according to Barangay Captain Raquel Bernal.
Most of the dengue cases were youngsters 18 years old and below and students of San Fernando High School and San Fernando Elementary School.
The barangay council held an emergency session on June 16 and decided to declare a state of calamity so they could utilize their calamity fund to address the problem.
“Sa mga tigulang gamay pa lang ang may dengue cases,” said Bernal.
Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral infection causing a severe flu-like illness that could sometimes be fatal. Its carriers are day-biting mosquitoes (Aedes albpictus and Aedes egypti) that live and breed and clean, stagnant water.
Barangay San Fernando’s dengue patients mostly sought treatment at the Jesus M. Colmenares Memorial District Hospital in the nearby municipality of Balasan.
Bernal said their barangay council was thankful no resident has died of dengue but parents remained anxious. They feared dengue mosquitoes would further spread the virus in the island’s elementary and high schools.
“We launched a petition asking Mayor Siegfredo Betita and the Department of Education to temporarily halt classes,” said Bernal.
Over a week before the barangay council declared a state of calamity, the rural health doctor and nurses of the local government of Carles visited San Fernando and discussed with residents the importance of the 4S campaign against dengue.
4S stands for “search and destroy” mosquito breeding places; “self-protection” from mosquito bites; “seek early consultation” when signs and symptoms of dengue occur; and “say yes to fogging” as a last resort when there is a looming outbreak.
The municipal health personnel also distributed mosquito repellants to Barangay San Fernando residents, said Bernal.
This Monday, June 24, the barangay council of will be leading an island-wide cleanup to deny mosquitoes of their breeding places.
Barangays should have a greater role in the campaign to curb the spread of dengue, according to the Department of Health (DOH) in Western Visayas.
DOH noted a clustering of dengue cases (three or more cases recorded in four successive weeks) in 121 barangays in Region 6.
It is thus advancing the campaign ABKD or Aksyon Barangay Kontra Dengue.
Dr. Elvie Villalobos, head of DOH-6 infectious and emerging disease cluster, said ABKD makes the 4S anti-dengue strategy a cost-effective method.
Data (Jan. 1 to June 15) from the Provincial Health Office (PHO) showed that majority of the dengue cases in Iloilo were children.
Of the 2,778 dengue cases so far recorded this year, 1,300 were children 10 years old and below while 946 more were between 11 to 20 years old. Eighty-seven cases were children less than one year old.
According to Dr. Maria Socorro Colmenares Quiñon of the PHO, dengue cases were rising and the number of patients who died since January was now at 15.
Of these deaths, 11 were below 13 years old.
“Gusto naton tani magamay lang ang kaso, indi na magdamo. The more kaso, the more chances of dying,” said Quiñon.
All age groups were affected, PHO data showed – 21 to 30 years old, 261 cases; 41 years old and above, 95 cases./PN