DOH wants dengue outbreak declared in 9 Central Visayas towns, cities
CEBU CITY – The Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH-7) has recommended the declaration of a dengue outbreak in at least nine towns and cities in the region because of the number of children sick with the mosquito-transmitted illness.
Dr. Ronald Jarvik Buscato, a DOH-7 dengue program coordinator, said these areas have already “exceeded the epidemic thresholds for the number of dengue cases” and that their local governments should declare an outbreak.
Among the areas that exceeded the epidemic thresholds are Lapu-Lapu City and Sibonga town in Cebu province; Tagbilaran City and the towns of Trinidad, Cortes, Dauis, Clarin, and Loon in Bohol province; and, Lazi town of Siquijor province.
The World Health Organization says an “epidemic threshold” is the critical number or density of susceptible hosts required for an epidemic to occur. The epidemic threshold is used to confirm the emergence of an epidemic so as to step up appropriate control measures.
Another factor to consider for an outbreak is if the average number of cases for the past five years has risen by 10 percent, Buscato explained.
The DOH-7 regional office based in Cebu City has sent out the notices and letters of recommendation to the concerned towns and cities. It is the concerned local governments that will declare an outbreak based on the recommendation of the DOH.
In the data gathered by the Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Unit from January 1 to February 9, Central Visayas listed 3,076 cases and 24 deaths from dengue.
The statistics are higher by 215 percent compared to the same period in 2018.
Majority of the cases in the region were in Cebu City with 390 cases, including three deaths. The highly-populated city, however, was not among those that exceeded their epidemic thresholds.
Buscato said they may include Cebu City if the number of cases continues to rise.
Lapu-Lapu City in Cebu Province came in second with 299 cases and one death. Mandaue City was in the third spot with 152 cases and one death.
On the other hand, Tagbilaran City in Bohol also has 52 cases and two deaths.
With the spike of dengue cases, Buscato said the DOH-7 was in the process of integrating the campaign against measles and dengue for the region. This means that they would include dengue in the house-to-house campaign intended for measles.
While the government focus now is measles, Buscato said the public should not forget that dengue is as dangerous as measles.
Buscato said the spike in dengue cases in January came as a surprise because they expected the number to increase by March or April.
The last dengue epidemic in Central Visayas was in 2016 and it started in April, he added.
“This is actually quite early,” Buscato said.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.