GENERAL SANTOS City — Health personnel here are closely monitoring at least nine barangays due to the noted clustering of suspected dengue cases since last month.
Dr. Mely Lastimoso, head of the City Health Office’s (CHO) epidemiology and surveillance unit, said their latest monitoring showed that an average of three or more cases of dengue have emerged in the affected barangays in the last three weeks.
She said these are in barangays Fatima, San Isidro, Lagao, Calumpang, Labangal, Bula, Katangawan, City Heights and Baluan.
The Department of Health’s (DOH) National Epidemiology Center defined clustering as the emergence of three or more cases of the disease in a barangay in consecutive weeks.
Based on a report released by the CHO, nine dengue cases were recorded during the period in Barangay Fatima, eight in San Isidro, six each in Lagao and Calumpang, five each in Labangal and Bula, four in Katangawan and three each in City Heights and Baluan.
Since Jan. 1, the CHO already recorded a total of 1,044 suspected dengue cases within the city’s 26 barangays.
Lastimoso said such figure is about 207 percent more than the reported cases in the same period last year that only reached 340.
She said all of the patients were admitted in local hospitals, with 22 confirmed as dengue based on laboratory test results.
Barangay Calumpang posted the most number of cases with 146, followed by Lagao with 128, and Fatima with 113, she said.
The official said they also recorded six confirmed deaths due to dengue, two more than the cases in the same period last year.
The fatalities were from Barangays Buayan, Labangal, Olympog, San Isidro, Tambler and San Jose, she said.
Citing the confirmed dengue cases, Lastimoso said seven were classified as strain or serotype 4, 10 as serotype 3, two as serotype 2, and three as serotype 1.
She said the confirmatory results were provided by the department of virology of the DOH’s Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in Alabang, Muntinlupa City.
“The test specimens were randomly collected from patients confined in two local hospitals,” she said.
Lastimoso specifically cited the city government-run Dr. Jorge P. Royeca Hospital and the private-owned St. Elizabeth Hospital.
CHO had warned residents on the emergence in the area of dengue serotypes 3 and 4, which are considered as more severe and dangerous strains and caused most of the recorded dengue deaths.
In the previous years, she said they only monitored cases of dengue strains 1 and 2, which are characterized by its common symptoms like high fever, emergence of skin rashes and bleeding.
Lastimoso said the detection of dengue strains 3 and 4 means that the disease is now more potent and dangerous.
She advised residents to continue with the regular clean-up of their households and surroundings of possible breeding places of dengue-carrying mosquitoes.
Those suffering from fever should immediately seek treatment at the nearest barangay health center so they could avail of oresols for rehydration, she added. (pna)