Iloilo prov’l gov’t mulls declaring dengue calamity

ILOILO – The provincial government is studying the possibility of declaring a state of calamity due to rising dengue cases.

But hard data are needed, according to Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) executive officer Jerry Bionat.

During the PDRRMC meeting headed by Gov. Arthur Defensor Sr. yesterday morning, the Provincial Health Office (PHO) was given 10 days to gather the latest dengue figures from 42 towns and the component city of Passi, district hospitals, Western Visayas Medical Center, West Visayas State University Medical Center, and private hospitals in Iloilo City.

As of June 19, suspected dengue cases reached 3,217 with 18 deaths, according to Dr. Maria Socorro Colmenares Quiñon of the PHO. These were higher than the June 15 figures of 2,778 suspected cases with 15 deaths.

Quiñon, however, said the PHO still needed the death certificates to confirm the three new deaths reported in Concepcion, Sara and Passi City.

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.

Also during the yesterday’s meeting, the PDRRMC decided to procure insecticides for distribution to areas with high dengue cases and to step up the information drive on how to avoid and curb the spread of dengue.

The 10 areas with high dengue cases are Pototan (318, with two deaths), Passi City (271, with one death), Concepcion (212, with five deaths), Calinog (204), Ajuy (154), Santa Barbara (125, with one death), Lambunao (124), Sara (122, with one death), Cabatuan (108), and Pavia (104, with two deaths).

The six other dengue-related deaths were from New Lucena (one), Dueñas (one), Bingawan (one), and Banate (two).

Quiñon said people with dengue symptoms should immediately see the doctor. These symptoms include sudden high fever, severe headaches, pain behind the eyes, severe joint and muscle pain, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, skin rash which appears two to five days after the onset of fever, mild bleeding (such a nose bleed, bleeding gums, or easy bruising).

She again stressed the importance of the 4S strategy against dengue – “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.

Quiñon said barangays should have a greater role in sustaining the campaign.

Last week the island barangay of San Fernando in the northern coastal municipality of Carles declared a state of calamity due to dengue cases – the first barangay to do so this year.

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.

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./PN


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