Risks of dengue rising in rainy months

Sep. 09, 2013

by Davao Today

With the rainy months here, the risk of dengue is on the rise.

While the public was advised to continue practicing defense measures such as putting up screens and mosquito nets and avoiding outdoors at certain times, a group of doctors warned of two types of dengue-carrying mosquitoes.

The Philippine Association of Entomologists Inc. (PAE) warns that areas outside of Metro Manila face a double threat of dengue because of two species of dengue- lamok (dengue-carrying mosquitoes) that are carriers of the dengue virus to unsuspecting families and communities.

These species are the day-biting Aedes aegypti, which has peak biting hours from 6am-8am and 4pm-6pm, and the Aedes albopictus, which spreads the dengue virus at night, with peak biting hours from 6pm-8pm and 11pm-1am.

Dr. Barbara L. Caoili, PAE President said people usually believe the risk of spreading dengue happens at day, but new studies found the night-time Aedes albopictus mosquitoes are deadly as well.

Caoili blamed the destruction of forests due to logging, industrial and commercial activities for displacing albopictus mosquitoes and forcing them to live in new areas.  The increase in houses in former forested areas also posed the risks between the dengue-carrying Ae. albopictus and humans to become inevitable.

The PAE identified four types of dengue virus: DENV-1, DENV-2, DENV-3, and DENV-4. They said individuals could respond differently to exposure to any of these viruses.

Dengue symptoms are flu-like, including high-fever and muscle-and-joint pains. A rash may also appear on the skin.  Complications may arise such as damage to brain or liver, as well as injury to other vital organs or liver failure.

The most dangerous complication is “Dengue Shock Syndrome.”  This happens when, after the dengue virus destroys the patient’s white blood cells and damages the patient’s blood vessels, internal hemorrhaging occurs. The loss of blood and sudden drop in blood pressure can be fatal.

Recently, the Department of Health recorded Davao region and Socsksargen as among the top cases of dengue-related deaths from January to July this year.

The DOH recorded 56,056 cases of dengue nationwide as of July 6. Most of the cases were reported from the following regions: Region VI – Western Visayas (7,263 cases; 30 deaths); Region IV-A – Calabarzon area (6,891 cases; 19 deaths); Region VII – Central Visayas (6,466 cases; 21 deaths); Region XII – SOCCSKSARGEN area (5,483 cases; 37 deaths) and Region XI Davao (5,091 cases; 30 deaths).

Recent data from the DOH Center for Health and Development Davao Region recorded more cases as of August, with a total of 6,937 cases and 47 dengue related deaths.

The records also showed a 17-percent increase compared to last year’s 5,900 reported deaths on the same period.  However, the number of deaths decreased by 25 percent.

According to Mary Divine C. Hilario, officer-in-charge of the DOH Advocacy Promotion, the decrease of deaths can be attributed to people being more informed to seek treatment once dengue sets in on patients.

The report noted that most cases happened in Davao City with 3,822 cases with 23 deaths.

In addition, children aged five to nine posted the highest number of cases with 1,560 and 23 deaths.

The report also noted the month with the highest number of record cases was in February with 1,400 while February had the lowest around 700.

While Hilario announced that a vaccine might be developed within 2014, she advised people to work together to prevent dengue.

DOH continues its campaign with various agencies such as DILG, DOST and DepEd to control dengue.  Information dissemination and an “Aksyon Barangay Kontra Dengue” campaign are being launched in high-risk communities.

Aside from the defense measures and campaigns pushed by DOH, the company Green Cross has come out with its Insect Repellent Lotions.

The company said insect repellents are the most effective dengue protection, and its brand “is the only product of its kind that’s clinically proven to protect against both the day-biting Ae. Aegypti and the Ae. albopictus that bites at night.”

The lotion is also hypoallergenic and safe for children to use. (with PR/ davaotoday.com)

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