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Editorial | Dengue alert

Never mind the blistering heat of the noon day sun, Pagasa has announced that the rainy season is here which means umbrellas and raincoats are must-haves for all of us. The flooding in low lying areas of the city has caused so much inconvenience to commuters who just want to go home at the end of a day’s work. The weather also brings cough, colds and worse, dengue.

In April, the Department of Health in the region reported that the number of dengue cases during the first quarter jumped nearly three times as compared to last year’s figure.

Data from the DOH-Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit show 1,961 cases from January 1 to March 29 this year, up by 173 percent compared to 719 cases over the same period in 2018. Identified dengue hotspots include Mati, Davao Oriental; Tagum City, Davao del Norte; Buhangin District, Agdao, Talomo Central and Talomo North, in Davao City; Compostela District, Monkayo, and Nabunturan in Compostela Valley.

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 Ae. aegypti bites multiple people during each feeding period,” the World Health Organization said.

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.

Both the health department and the city government have time and again encouraged the public to practice the enhanced “4S” which stands for: Search and destroy mosquito breeding places; Secure self-protection; Seek early consultation; and Support Indoor and Outdoor spraying.
As always, prevention is better than cure.

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