By URIEL C. QUILINGUING
Contributing Editor .
WHILE the city health department attributed the decreasing cases of dengue to city hall-initiated community-level information, education, and communication campaign against virus-carrying mosquitoes, it could not rule out the possibility Cagayan de Oro could post an all-time-high record for the viral disease, this year.
Dr. Joselito Retuya, the city health office’s epidemiologist, said on Tuesday the 3,047 dengue cumulative cases which recorded from Jan. 1 to Sept. 27 this year, has surpassed last year’s 2,840 patients. Fourteen of them died.
“Dengue cases could breach the 4,000 mark by year-end, if the anti-dengue campaign is not sustained,” Retuya said while showing to Gold Star Daily a 22-year bar-graph that indicates 2014 had the most number of cases ever for Cagayan de Oro with 3,647.
He said all the city’s 80 barangays posted single-digit incidence of dengue, except the city’s most populated Carmen with 18 cases in the 39th morbidity week (Sept. 21-27). Carmen kept the top spot for the past eight months with 413 cumulative cases.
“There must be a breeding site in Carmen the dengue task force has not found,” the city epidemiologist said.
He said his office also observed that there was complacency among barangay officials and those engaged in the anti-dengue campaign that is anchored on the 5S.
“Naay ni-succeed pag-reduce sa dengue cases but nagkomyansa, so nibalik og saka ang kaso (There are those who succeeded, reducing the cases of dengue, yet they were complacent so the cases went up again.),” Retuya said.\
On monthly basis, dengue virus infections soared in August with Carmen on top with 123, followed by other densely-resided semi-urban barangays of Canito-an (60), Balulang (58), Kauswagan (56), Iponan (52), Gusa (37), and Camaman-an (35)—all beyond threshold and epidemic levels.
Threshold level is determined by a five-year rolling average of dengue cases, according to Dr. Ian Christian A. Gonzales, who heads the infectious diseases cluster of the Department of Health regional office 10, in a press conference Tuesday (Oct. 1).
Gonzales said Northern Mindanao region which recorded 23,307 cumulative dengue cases for the Jan. 1 to Sept. 28 this year remained in the threshold level and is a 66% higher compared to the same period last year. Ninety-eight (98) of the dengue patients died.
Except for Misamis Occidental, the number of dengue cases in all provinces climbed this year during an eight-month period compared that of last year: 8,491 from 5,301 in Bukidnon; 420 from 294 in Camiguin; 3,204 from 1,646 in Lanao del Norte; and 3,963 from 1,719 in Misamis Oriental.
In Misamis Occidental, there were 2,400 cases of dengue for the Jan. 1 to Sept. 27 duration this year while there were 2,890, for the same period, last year.
“It could be dengue prevention and control initiatives were done before the outbreak,” said the DOH 10 official, adding that there might be underreporting of dengue cases. “This is where we need the community to report dengue cases.”