The Mother of All Epidemics

Healthbeat 1998 No. 1.jpgHealthbeat 1998 No. 1.jpg

The DOH declared an endemic of dengue fever in five areas this year after the disease affected 24,001 individuals and killed 397 nationwide. Outbreak areas included San Antonio and Jaen in Nueva Ecija and Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental. The DOH also identified 18 areas, including Metro Manila as “hot spots”. The cases started to peak in August and September this year.

Although the number of cases appeared to be increasing, health authorities stressed that the cases reported monthly are actually declining as the dengue season has already reached its peak. Despite the significant decrease, however, the DOH said all provinces were still on dengue alert since the rainy season was not yet over.

The dengue cases this year set an all time high as it surpassed the 1996 figures where 14,348 cases with 202 deaths were reported. Health authorities disclosed that increased awareness and improved surveillance of the disease contributed to the high number of reported cases this year.

The DOH also launched its new anti-dengue program billed as “Kontra Kiti-Kiti sa Dengue” where public elementary schoolchildren were mobilized to annihilate wigglers and breeding sites of dengue by simply putting alcohol, salt or used oil.