DOH: Dengue cases rising in Cordillera
Spike noted despite intense heats

DOH: Dengue cases rising in Cordillera

/ 05:18 AM May 04, 2024

DOH: Dengue cases rising in Cordillera

SEEK AND DESTROY A Baguio City health worker, in this June 2022 photo, sprays insecticide on areas where mosquitoes are likely to breed as part of efforts to stop the spread of dengue in local communities. —NEIL CLARK ONGCHANGCO

BAGUIO CITY—Dengue infections have increased in the Cordillera within a four-month span despite the intense heat accompanying the El Niño weather phenomenon that may only ease in June or July when the monsoon season brings back rains, the Department of Health (DOH) said on Thursday.

The 1,145 cases recorded from Jan. 1 to April 20 in this city and the provinces of Ifugao, Apayao, Kalinga, Abra, Benguet and Mountain Province were a slight increase from the 1,041 dengue patients treated in the same period last year, according to epidemiology nurse Karen Lonogan of the DOH Cordillera Office.


Abra recorded an 82-percent hike from 30 cases last year to 60, while Apayao logged an 80-percent increase from 90 cases in the first four months of 2023 to 162 this year, she said.


Benguet registered the highest infections with 382 cases, up by 5 percent from last year’s 363. Mountain Province reflected a 21-percent increase, with 117 patients treated this year, compared to 97 cases in the same period last year.


Hospitals and clinics in Baguio are handling an 8-percent hike from 213 dengue patients in the first months of 2023 to 230 this year, prompting Mayor Benjamin Magalong last week to mobilize an epidemiology awareness program that solicits citizen-led reporting of infections to help government doctors manage the spread.

The City Health Services Office has circulated a QR Code online that leads the public to a “self-reporting form” which can be filled out to help the city “catch the data,” said Dr. Donnabel Tubera-Panes, the city government’s infectious disease expert.Magalong himself has been featured in online videos promoting “denguera” (a play on dengue and “giyera,” or war), which provides tips on how to clean up breeding areas of mosquitoes in households or in neighborhoods.

The DOH data did not say whether dengue infections continued to peak when temperatures spiked in March, after a relatively cold January and February in the Cordillera, with Baguio experiencing its coldest morning on Jan. 27 as the temperature plunged to 9.8 degrees Celsius.

Two provinces in the Cordillera registered a decrease in dengue infections from January to April 20, Lonogan said.

Ifugao reported a decline from 143 dengue cases last year to 142 cases this year. Kalinga reflected an almost 50 percent drop in dengue infections, from 102 patients in 2023 to 52 cases this year.


Lonogan said the youngest Cordillera patient was a 3-month-old baby, while the oldest was 94 years old.

School children, she said, are again at risk, and a clustering of infections has been observed in seven barangays in Baguio, Benguet and Ifugao.

The accumulation of infections in cluster zones is a red flag, which mandates village health workers and residents to remove containers or other vessels that collect stagnant water, because these are where mosquitoes thrive, Lonogan said.

She said healthcare workers had also monitored an increase in influenza-like illnesses in the region from January to April.

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Lonogan said all provinces in the region have clusters of these diseases, which should have receded because of the strong heat, although “the weather has been erratic” and there have been days in April when extreme heat was followed by sporadic showers or brief thunderstorms.

TAGS: Cordillera, dengue

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