May to September: 14, not 5 hospital staff, contracted dengue
At least 14 doctors and nurses at Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC) in Quezon City have contracted dengue since May, a much larger number than initially thought, a hospital official told the Inquirer on Monday.
In a statement, PCMC originally claimed that five of its doctors came down with the mosquito-borne disease, one of whom died last week. Dr. Sonia Gonzalez, the hospital’s spokesperson, clarified that the figure referred to those who were diagnosed this month.
After a hospital-wide survey, however, PCMC found out that 12 doctors and two nurses had been stricken with the disease since May, coinciding with an upsurge that month in the number of dengue patients admitted into the hospital.
Gonzalez said the increase in cases was expected, given that dengue incidents usually go up during the rainy season.
From a low of around 25 cases during summer, the figure climbed to 100 cases in June and July before peaking at 200 in August. Midway through September, PCMC admitted 92 patients for the mosquito-borne disease.
No Dengvaxia for victims
Gonzalez added that contrary to unofficial reports that had circulated, none of the 14 affected medical personnel had received Dengvaxia, the controversial antidengue vaccine.
Aside from Wednesday’s fatality, the other 13 had all “fully recovered,” she said.
Most of those affected were trainees who often served 24-hour shifts, thus extending their exposure time and heightening their risk, Gonzalez said.
No nonmedical personnel at PCMC have contracted dengue.
Aside from the onslaught of the rainy season, PCMC is also surrounded by open spaces, in addition to a creek and the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center, which houses “so many sources of water” that could be fertile breeding ground for mosquitoes.
PCMC has coordinated with the health department, which “knows the hospital is controlling the situation,” Gonzalez said.
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