Dengue cases down in Valenzuela
Thanks to “larvitraps,” no deaths due to dengue fever were recorded in Valenzuela City—a first in 17 years.
Based on data from the city health office, there was a 43-percent decline in dengue cases from 718 in 2013 to 397 in 2014, a decrease attributed to the black tin cans designed to trap mosquito eggs.
According to Jaime M. Exconde, officer-in-charge of the city health office, Valenzuela has consistently been among the top five local government units in Metro Manila with the highest number of cases of the mosquito-borne disease.
In 2011 and 2012, the city was ranked fourth in the metropolis by the Department of Health. It was also tagged a “dengue hotspot” in 2010 when it recorded 1,693 cases, the highest since 1998.
The number, however, dropped significantly in 2013 after the city started a year-long larvae trapping program to monitor the “larvae trap index” of each barangay, Exconde said in an interview.
With the slogan, “Dengue, isang lata ka lang (Dengue, you don’t stand a chance against a single tin can),” the health office started promoting the use of larvitraps, he added.
From 1,397 cases in 2012, the number plummeted to 718 in 2013. It ranked eighth that year and ninth in 2014.
Doctor Edgardo Aruelo, program action officer against dengue, said that unlike other LGUs which conduct “larvitrapping” activities only in the first quarter of the year to prepare for the rainy season, Valenzuela implements it throughout the year.
Larvitraps prevent the disease by killing the mosquito larvae which is present in stagnant water, Aruelo explained.
“[We use] a tin can painted black which is filled with water to attract mosquitoes to breed there,” he said.
Every week, barangay health workers report the larvae trap index in their respective areas based on the harvested mosquito eggs or larvae from larvitraps planted in 15,900 houses, usually placed under the sink and other dark corners.
Health education officer Andrea de Jesus said the amount of larvae collected indicates whether the community is running the risk of an outbreak.
If at least 10 percent of the around 30 larvitraps in a community contain larvae, it is a signal for the office’s “Oplan Sita” team to conduct fogging operations and teach residents about proper sanitation.