By LITO RULONA and NITZ ARANCON
HEALTH officials yesterday sounded alarm bells as they revealed that thousands of dengue cases documented in northern Mindanao indicate that the region has already exceeded the epidemic threshold.
The situation has become quite alarming, said Dr. Adriano Suba-an, regional director of the Department of Health (DOH) even as he disclosed that the government registered 15,095 dengue cases in Region 10 alone from Jan. 1 to Aug. 3 this year.
Suba-an said northern Mindanao is in a critical stage and if the situation worsens, the DOH could declare a dengue outbreak.
The health crisis is being felt in other parts of the country. Last month, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III raised the dengue alert level throughout the country. Yesterday, the health department declared a nationwide epidemic.
Bukidnon topped the DOH’s list of dengue-hit northern Mindanao areas. Misamis Oriental ranked second, followed by Lanao del Norte, Misamis Occidental, Cagayan de Oro, Iligan and Camiguin.
Of the 15,095 dengue cases documented by the DOH in the region since January, 6,404 cases were registered in Bukidnon. The province accounted for 42 percent of the total number of dengue cases in the region.
Misamis Oriental registered 2,384 dengue cases, followed by Lanao del Norte, 2,066; Misamis Occidental, 1,576; Cagayan de Oro, 1,557; Iligan, 897; and Camiguin, 241.
The DOH listed 60 dengue-related deaths in the region since January.
Lanao del Norte had the highest number of dengue-related deaths during the period at15, followed by Misamis Oriental with 13 deaths, Iligan City with 11, Bukidnon with 10, Cagayan de Oro with eight, Misamis Occidental with two, and Camiguin with one death.
Suba-an said while the dengue case fatality rate in the region registered as 0.39 percent, the 60 deaths were nevertheless 62.54 percent higher compared to the same period last year.
He said majority or 53 percent of the dengue patients were male, and the most affected age group are that of children aged 10 years and younger.
Cagayan de Oro accounted for 1,557 of the dengue cases, eight of which resulted in deaths. The city’s most densely populated barangay, Carmen, registered the highest number of dengue cases at 196 with two deaths. Macanhan, a sitio in Carmen, was the worst hit, registering 32 dengue cases since January.
Suba-an said the DOH would tap the health cluster of the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (RDRRMC) to help in stepping up the anti-dengue campaign.
He said the group would be asked to help in detection, tracking and monitoring of dengue cases, issue alert advisories, ensure mobilization and augmentation of needed logistics, and provide laboratory.
Suba-an said all the bureaus, units, hospitals and other attached agencies of the DOH would intensify monitoring of dengue cases, help those who contracted the virus, and manage the situation.
He said the health department has already ordered a massive nationwide information campaign, and citizens are advised to follow the “4s” approach of the DOH. The 4s stands for “search and destroy,” “self-protection,” “seek consultation,” and “say ‘yes’ to fogging” in case of an outbreak.
“Ang dengue makamatay, manghinlo tang tanan. Waya-waya og lamok patya. Magpakabana, magtinabanga ’tang tanan aron ang dengue malikayan,” said Dr. Suba-an.