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DOH reminds public to remain vigilant vs dengue despite drop in cases


While the number of dengue cases in the country have dropped, the Department of Health (DOH) reminded the public to remain vigilant against the risk of getting the disease.

Dr. Norielyn Evangelista, Program Manager of the National Aedes-Borne Viral Diseases Prevention and Control Program (NAVDPCP), said the number of dengue cases in the country had significantly dropped by 76 percent compared with 2019 levels. Dengue mortalities have also gone down from 2019 with 1,612 deaths versus 231 in 2020 or 78 percent from January 1 to August 15 this year.

Evangelista noted that one year after the national dengue epidemic was declared in August 2019, the reported number of dengue cases have dropped from 430,282 in 2019 to 59,675 from January to August this year.

“After the dengue epidemic of 2019, we have been working vigorously to decrease dengue cases via a systemic approach that involves every level of the community,” Evangelista said in a media forum.

DOH’s 4S program

She attributed the decrease in dengue cases to the DOH’s implementation of “4S” which means Search and destroy mosquito breeding places, use Self-protection measures, Seek early consultation for fever lasting more than two days, and Say ‘No’ to indiscriminate fogging; and a multi-pronged approach that partners with medical centers and local government units (LGUs) dubbed WI.L.D. (Water-borne Infectious Diseases like influenza, and leptospirosis, including dengue); and the lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic which forced people to stay at home.

W.I.L.D. aims to reduce the number of cases of water-borne infectious diseases, influenza, and leptospirosis, including dengue which usually peaks at the start of the rainy season.

Through submitted epidemiological data and analysis, the DOH noted that W.I.L.D. illnesses peaked significantly in the months of July and October due to fluctuating weather conditions, flooding, and the accumulation of contaminated water. This year, however, a significant decrease was observed in the number of cases compared to the same time period last year.

Review of manual operations

The NAVDPCP’s activities in 2020 include updating the Dengue Manual of Operations and Administrative Order 2012-006: Revised Dengue Clinical Practices Guidelines through Technical Working Group Meeting; partnering with UP-Philippine General Hospital (PGH), UP-National Institutes of Health (NIH), Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), and World Mosquito Program; and releasing administrative issuances.

Through these efforts, the DOH will roll out the Nucleic Acid Amplification Test-Loop Mediated Isothermal Amplification Assay (NAAT-LAMP) which offers a cheaper and simpler dengue diagnosis. It will also implement the Wolbachia Project at the Bicol Center for Health Development (CHD) as part of a non-invasive way to control the local dengue-carrying mosquito population.

The administrative releases underlined guidelines in establishing Dengue Centers of Excellence in Tertiary Hospitals, creating Dengue Fast Lanes, and conducting Dengue Mortality Review.

In these advisories, the preparation for W.I.L.D. illnesses with special consideration for the present Covid-19 pandemic are shared from surveillance, integrated vector management, to the submission of reports to the National Dengue Prevention and Control Program and Infectious Diseases Office of the Disease Prevention and Control Bureau.

Materials that cover the need for the destruction of mosquitoes’ breeding places, wearing insect-repellant uniforms, and following the 4S-Enhanced Strategies for Dengue have also been disseminated. Claudeth Mocon-Ciriaco

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