DOH, LGUs ORDERED TO PRIORITIZE PREVENTIVE MEASURES VS DENGUE

[PHOTO AT LEFT - DENGUE DRIVE: President Arroyo checks a defogging machine used by ‘mosquito busters’ in Sitio San Roque in Barangay Pag-asa in Quezon City, where 11 people have died and 44 hospitalized due to the disease. Behind her is Health Secretary Francisco Duque III. - Photo By WILLY PEREZ ]

MANILA, August 7, 2005 (STAR) President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ordered Saturday the Department of Health (DOH) and local officials to prioritize the implementation of preventive measures against dengue, a dreaded disease that is prevalent during the rainy season.

The President issued the directive after she visited this morning Sitio San Roque II, Barangay Bagong Pagasa in Quezon City, which is the most affected area in the city with 44 cases and 11 deaths so far this year.

The Chief Executive arrived at 10 A.M. along Agham Road in Pag-asa, where she visited the wake of three-year-old Therence Lean "Kharen" Refugio, the latest dengue fatality in Quezon City.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III then briefed the Chief Executive on the preventive measures and information drive being implemented against dengue at the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) district station in the area.

The DOH has recorded 143 deaths since January due to dengue fever outbreaks.

DOH figures show that 10,977 cases were reported from January to July this year, compared to 10,117 cases recorded for the same period last year.

Duque , however, assured that the nine percent increase in the number of dengue cases is not yet of an epidemic proportion.

In Quezon City, barangays with reported dengue cases include Batasan Hills, 19 cases ; Old Balara, 17; Baesa, Payatas and Tandang Sora with 10 cases each; and, Bagong Pag-asa with 44 cases and 11 deaths.

Duque urged the public to practice the "4 O’clock Habit" of cleaning their surroundings of the breeding places of dengue-carrier mosquitoes such as stored water, including those in tin cans, bottles and old tires.

He added that detection of the early signs of dengue—high fever, rashes, severe headache, nausea, vomiting, appetite loss, eye, muscle and joint pains -- would prevent deaths.

Dengue is caused by day-biting mosquitoes, particularly Aedis Aegypti.

DOH: No dengue epidemic — yet (STAR)

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said yesterday the reported rise in cases of dengue has not yet reached epidemic proportions.

In a radio interview, Duque said the dengue cases reported in Mindanao, Gen. Tinio town in Nueva Ecija and Barangay Pag-asa in Quezon City had not risen beyond the alert and epidemic thresholds.

He explained that 10,977 dengue cases reported from January to July this year represents a nine-percent increase over last year. This is "lower compared to the same period in the previous year," he said, adding "we are far from the alert threshold" of 15,000 cases.

The Department of Health (DOH) recorded 10,117 cases during the same period last year. However, Duque warned that the number of dengue cases could still increase because of the rainy season.

Duque accompanied President Arroyo in visiting Sitio San Roque II in Barangay Pag-asa yesterday. There have been 44 dengue cases and 11 deaths so far this year in this barangay alone.

Other barangays in Quezon City with reported dengue cases include Batasan Hills, with 19 cases; Old Balara, 17; and Baesa, Payatas and Tandang Sora with 10 cases each.

Mrs. Arroyo attended the wake of three-year-old Therence Lean Refugio, the latest dengue fatality in Quezon City. The DOH has recorded 143 deaths since January due to dengue.

The girl’s parents, Eduardo and Gina, told the President that their daughter died last July 30, five days after she was hospitalized with a high fever.

Mrs. Arroyo earlier ordered the DOH to coordinate with local government units to ensure that the dengue problem remained under control.

She asked the DOH and local government officials to prioritize the implementation of preventive measures against dengue, a disease that is prevalent during the rainy season.

Duque urged the public to practice the "4 o’clock habit" of ridding their surroundings of possible breeding places of the dengue-carrying Aedes aegypti mosquito, which breeds in clean but stagnant water such as that found in empty cans, bottles, old tires and roof gutters. Adult mosquitoes of this species bite during the day and rest in dark places of the house.

Dengue is an acute infectious viral disease usually affecting infants and young children. It is characterized by the sudden onset of high fever which may last two to nine days; pain in the joints, muscles and behind the eyes; weakness; red tiny spots on the skin called petechia; nosebleeds when the fever starts to subside; coffee-colored vomit; and dark-colored stool.

The DOH advised the public to bring a patient with any of these dengue symptoms to the nearest health center or hospital. — Pia Lee-Brago, Aurea Calica


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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