NO MORE DENGUE TEST KITS? Over a thousand new dengue cases in one week

ILOILO – People have been rushing to rural health units and the provincial government’s 12 hospitals for dengue tests to know if they have the dengue virus, resulting to a shortage in dengue test kits.

There is no specific treatment for dengue but early detection and access to proper medical care lowers fatality incidents. Gov. Arthur Defensor Jr. thus asked the Department of Health (DOH) for medicines, laboratory reagents/supplies and larvicides, and especially dengue test kits.

The Provincial Health Office (PHO) has recorded 1,371 more dengue cases in a week even as the provincial government expands its barangay-based cleanup drive to get rid of clear, stagnant water where dengue mosquitoes breed.

The new dengue cases were recorded from July 6 to July 13, the 28th morbidity week, bringing the total dengue cases since Jan. 1 to 6,806 with 23 deaths, from the 27th morbidity week’s 5,435 cases with 20 deaths.

In a letter to Health secretary Francisco Duque, Defensor asked for 550 boxes of dengue test kits. Each box contains 25 sets of kits.

The 550 boxes, therefore, could test 13,750 persons, said Defensor.

The Aedes egypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes are the main vectors that transmit the viruses that cause dengue. The viruses are passed on to humans through the bites of an infective female Aedes mosquito, which mainly acquires the virus while feeding on the blood of an infected person.

Even at its early stages, the dengue virus can be detected by the dengue rapid diagnostic test kit.

The kit contains a finger pricker to draw blood and promises results in minutes.

Like a pregnancy test kit, two lines will appear if the blood is positive for dengue, and one if it’s negative.

Five municipalities posted sharp increases in cases from July 6 to July 13. These were Pototan (224), Lambunao (116), Santa Barbara (83), Sara (70), and Janiuay (68).

“Our request for the needed medicines and supplies are projected to last for three months based on current data,” read part of Defensor’s letter to Duque.

The current dengue cases are 998 percent higher than the 620 cases with three deaths recorded from January to July 2018.

On July 15 when DOH declared a region-wide dengue outbreak, Duque promised to deliver 18,375 dengue test kits to Western Visayas.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), once infected, humans become the main carriers and multipliers of the dengue virus, serving as a source of the virus for uninfected mosquitoes.

The virus circulates in the blood of an infected person for two to seven days, at approximately the same time that the person develops a fever.

Symptoms of dengue include fever, vomiting, stomachache, difficulty in breathing, bloated belly, restlessness, and bleeding of nose and gums.

Data from the provincial government’s Hospital Management Office showed that as of July 18 the number of patients confined in 11 district hospitals and one provincial hospital already reached 2,156 and 1,148 of these were dengue cases.

To date, these were the five areas with the most number of dengue cases and deaths, according to the PHO:

* Pototan – 716 cases with three deaths

* Passi City – 459 cases with one death

* Sara – 379 cases with one death

* Concepcion – 337 cases with four deaths

* Lambunao – 294 cases with one death

The 13 other dengue-related deaths were from Santa Barbara (one death from 260 cases), Cabatuan (one death from 256 cases), Maasin (two deaths from 168 cases), Pavia (two deaths from 167 cases), Dingle (one death from 155 cases), Dueñas (one death from 151 cases), New Lucena (one death from 133 cases), Bingawan (two deaths from 121 cases), and Banate (two deaths from 117 cases).

Meanwhile, five areas with the least number of dengue cases were Tubungan (11), San Joaquin (18), Guimbal (22), San Rafael (32), and Balasan (32)./PN


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