Dengue Fever

Healthbeat 1996 No. 4.jpgHealthbeat 1996 No. 4.jpg

A More Deadly Strain

            As expected, dengue hemorrhagic fever rises during the rainy season. This year, however, the incidence soared so high that the Department of Health sounded off the alarm.

            San Lazaro Hospital reported 1608 dengue cases from January to July 1996 with 33 deaths. Actually, the total number of dengue cases nationwide reached 2845. The upsurge was said to be too early for a disease that is common during rainy season.

            Another twist to this year’s outbreak was the return of a more dangerous strain of dengue viruses called dengue-3. It was first detected in the Philippines in an outbreak in 1956. It was last monitored in 1988 which struck more than 1800 people. With dengue-3 around, more cases were expected in succeeding months.

            Admissions at the San Lazaro Hospital in June came from three places only – Bulacan, Kalookan City and Tondo, Manila. Dengue cases have also been reported this year in 11 towns in Pangasinan and the town of Dolores in Quezon Province. In August, dengue had spread to Central and Northern Luzon.

            Health authorities advised community action to prevent dengue fever. On August 2, the President, through an executive order, launched the National Tepok Lamok – Dengue Sapok program and the start if the 4 o’clock habit.

The DOH led the whole country in a clean-up operation to eliminate all potential mosquito breeding places every 4:00 pm.

The Aedes aegyoti mosquito, the cause of dengue, breeds in clear, stagnant water accumulated in cans, old tires, flower vases, pots, pails and other containers. People were advised to eliminate these things in their homes, schools and offices. Only by cleaning up the environment and prompt medical attention can the vicious cycle of transmission be broken.