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Editorial | Raising awareness on dengue

As the month of June ushers the wet season and the start of classes as well, there is no time like the present to raise the warning of dengue as a health concern.

About two years ago, City Health Officer Josephine Villafuerte urged those suffering from fever, even if the illness is just a day old, to rush to health centers so they could be subjected to rapid diagnostic test for dengue infection. She said early assessment is crucial as the “dengue has gone virulent.” She announced that time that health centers in the city now use NS1 (non-structural protein 1) dengue test kits, which allows the rapid detection of the deadly mosquito-borne disease even if the fever is still on its first day.

This is a reliable screening and treatment than just resorting to home treatment and self-medication.

The World Health Organization noted dengue cases in the world has dramatically increased, particularly in Asia. Based on its recent estimate, “(there were about) 390 million dengue infections per year (95% credible interval 284–528 million), of which 96 million (67–136 million) manifest clinically (with any severity of disease). Another study, of the prevalence of dengue, estimates that 3900 million people, in 128 countries, are at risk of infection with dengue viruses.”

The report said the dengue carrier, the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which incubates in less than two weeks, “lives in urban habitats and breeds mostly in man-made containers. Unlike other mosquitoes Aedes aegypti is a day-time feeder; its peak biting periods are early in the morning and in the evening before dusk. Female aegypti bites multiple people during each feeding period.”

Both the city government and the Department of Health have raised caution on the possibility of children getting afflicted by the illness.
To be able to reduce the number, because totally eliminating the illness may be next to impossible, there is a need to mobilize the entire community, not just the schools and the homes. This can be done if people will become extra vigilant to ensure that places where mosquitos breed would be cleaned.

As always, prevention is better than cure.

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