By URIEL C. QUILINGUING
THE “code white alert” the Department of Health issued July 15 is still in effect although dengue cases in Northern Mindanao have gone below epidemic levels the past four morbidity weeks now.
“It stays, we’re not lifting it,” was the response of Dr. Ian Christian Gonzalez, who heads DOH-10 infectious diseases cluster when asked him on the status of the code white alert right after Tuesday’s news conference at the DOH regional office here.
“Code white alert” refers to the round-the-clock readiness of hospital manpower in response to dengue-related emergencies.
“We’re now on the tail-end of an epidemic, but we should not be complacent,” Gonzalez told reporters and appealed for support in sustaining the search and destroy, self-protection, seek early treatment, support fogging, and stay hydrated anti-dengue campaigns.
Northern Mindanao posted 25,544 cumulative dengue cases, including 104 deaths, from Jan. 1 up to Oct. 26 which was 57 percent higher than last year’s total for the same period, as indicated in a three-page DOH-10 surveillance statistical report.
The same document indicated dengue infections in Region 10 was highest in morbidity week 31 (August) when cases breached the 1,200 mark, way above the epidemic threshold of 800 cases for the period. Latest morbidity week 43 (Oct. 20-26), dengue cases went below 400 cases, the period’s alert level.
Regionwide, Bukidnon posted the highest dengue incidence with 8,966 with 18 deaths and yet Misamis Oriental had the most fatalities with 22, although the cases were recorded at 4,405, for the almost 10-month period this year.
Iligan city recorded the highest case fatality rate of 0.96 percent per 100,000 population since it tallied 1,883 cases and yet 18 of the patients had died.
Dengue cases for the region’s three other provinces were Lanao del Norte (3,496), Misamis Occidental (2,677), and Camiguin (566) while Cagayan de Oro, also a highly urbanized city, had 3,551 and 16 fatalities.
Dengue fever, which could cause deaths, is caused by flavivirus which either Aedes aegypti or Aedes albopictus mosquito transmits when it pricks its proboscis into the human skin to suck blood.