By MARLON A LOTERTE
LEGAZPI CITY, Albay: The Department of Health (DOH) regional office here has alerted local governments in the Bicol Region on the rising cases of dengue and urged them to take prevention and control measures.
In an advisory, DOH Bicol urged local governments to keep watch of areas in their respective localities with suspected dengue cases.
The agency also cautioned the same authorities against classifying diseases with dengue-like symptoms as dengue, the likes of “chikungunya,” which is also a mosquito-borne disease that has symptoms similar to dengue.
Dengue can cause death while Chikungunya is not fatal.
DOH Bicol reported that at least 330 dengue case suspects were monitored by the Regional Epidemiological and Surveillance Unit (RESU) of the DOH-CHD (Center for Health and Development) from its sentinel site.
Health records indicate that during the period January to Feb 27 this year, at least 522 dengue cases were reported by various provincial health offices in Bicol.
Albay had 308 cases; followed by Camarines Sur with 92; Catanduanes, 68; Sorsogon, 27; Masbate, 23, and Camarines Norte, four cases.
There are no reported outbreaks, according to DOH Bicol, and the number excludes those from private hospitals.
DOH 5 regional director Gloria J. Balboa said Provincial Health Teams (PHTs) of the DOH-CHD Bicol are doing rounds reminding local chief executives and health officials to take action based on the surveillance data on dengue which are being provided to them by the DOH.
Through the surveillance data done on a weekly basis, according to Balboa, they can deduce or infer trends or patterns, if there are any, on the frequency of occurrence of dengue and take action.
“Hotspots or clustering of cases can be inferred from data including the possibility of an outbreak. Whatever action they take, the DOH-CHD Bicol will always extend assistance whenever necessary,” she added.
Arnel Santiago of the DOH-CHD RESU explained that identification of hotspots and clustering of cases are used in dengue monitoring and response.
“There is clustering when there are two or more cases in a barangay during a specific morbidity week,” he explained.
A hotspot on the other hand, he furthered, is one where there are two or more suspected dengue cases for two successive weeks also in one barangay whereas an outbreak is one where there is an excess number of cases in a given period than what is expected. – PIA-5