ANGELES CITY, January 9, 2004 (STAR) By Ding Cervantes - The city’s drug stores have run out of mosquito repellent lotions as residents panicked over reports that the mosquito-borne dengue fever has afflicted at least 500 people.

The viral disease has downed even residents of posh subdivisions. A 14-year-old boy at Carmenville Subdivision reportedly died of dengue after he and two other family members were afllicted with it.

Five more victims were reported in three households in Sunset Valley Homes. Patronicia Dungca, a statistician of the city health office, said they have been monitoring dengue cases in both government and private hospitals.

Earlier, the regional office of the Department of Health warned of a relatively new strain of the dengue virus that appears every three to four years.

Dr. Eric Tayag, the DOH’s assistant regional director, said most people are not immune from the new dengue strain. He expects the number of dengue cases to peak this year.

Dr. Jessie Fantone, the DOH’s regional epidemiologist, said seven dengue-related deaths were reported in Central Luzon, mostly in Pampanga, recently.

Because of the dengue outbreak, barangay officials have swamped City Hall with requests for fogging operations.

Some residents have blamed an open dumpsite in Barangay Cutcut for the spread of the dengue virus.

In 2003, 1,800 dengue cases were reported in Central Luzon, or 47 percent higher than the previous year’s.

From January to November last year, 10 people died of dengue in this city, four in Bulacan, and one each in Bataan and Aurora.

Cops ready for Quiapo crowd The Philippine Star 01/09/2004

Manila cops will be securing the vicinity of Quiapo Church to ensure the safety of thousands of devotees and VIPs taking part in a procession marking the feast day of the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene today.

Western Police District (WPD) director Chief Superintendent Pedro Bulaong said a number of uniformed policemen will be deployed on the procession route to protect devotees from criminal elements.

"We promise to ensure the safety of devotees," Bulaong said.

The WPD chief noted that at least two policemen will be fielded on every street on the route of the procession, which would start at around 2 p.m. last until early evening.

The image of the Black Nazarene will be go around the Quiapo district on a motorized cart.

Bulaong said monstrous traffic is expected even before the religious procession starts.

The WPD-Traffic Management Group (TEG) has mapped out plans for alternative routes. A number of politicians are expected to participate in the religious procession. — Cecille Suerte Felipe

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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