By Calvin Cordova
CEBU CITY – The Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH) recommended that a dengue outbreak be declared in two cities and seven towns in Central Visayas.
An outbreak must be declared by local government units (LGUS) once the number of cases exceeds the epidemic threshold, said Dr. Ronald Jarvik Buscato, dengue program coordinator for DOH’s regional office.
The areas that have exceeded the threshold are Lazi town, Siquijor, Lapu-Lapu City, Sibonga town in southern Cebu, Tagbilaran City and the towns of Trinidad, Cortes, Dauis, Clarin, and Loon in Bohol.
Buscato said that one factor in declaring an outbreak is if current figures have exceeded the average number of cases for the past five years by 10 percent.
As dengue cases in nine areas continue to rise, DOH sent out notices and letters of recommendation to the concerned LGUs.
According to data gathered by the Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Unit, there were 3,076 dengue cases and 24 deaths from Jan. 1 to Feb. 9 in Central Visayas.
The figures are higher by 215 percent than during the same period in 2018, said Buscato.
Although Cebu City has the most number of cases with 390 and three deaths, an outbreak has yet to be declared here since the number of cases had not exceeded the epidemic threshold.
Lapu-Lapu is next with 299 cases with one death, followed by Mandaue with 152 cases and one death.
Tagbilaran has 52 cases and two deaths.
The rise in dengue cases came as the government scrambles to address the measles outbreaks in several regions.
Buscato said DOH will address both measles and dengue in its house-to-house campaigns.
“We want the public to be aware that dengue is as dangerous as measles,” he said.