A public health expert on Monday, July 4, warned of the rising number of dengue cases in the Philippines, as the severe form of this mosquito-borne viral disease can be very serious and life threatening.
Rainy season indicates the peak of dengue infection. This is why the immediate past president of the Philippine Medical Association Dr. Benito Atienza warned against complacency amid the rising number of dengue cases in the country.
The Department of Health (DOH) previously reported 45,416 dengue cases in the Philippines from Jan. 1 to June 11. This tally is 45 percent higher than the number of infections recorded during the same period in 2021.
“Dapat tayong maalarma [sa tumataas na bilang ng dengue cases]. Dapat po tayong mabahala [dahil] kahit sino po ay pwedeng magkaroon ng dengue sa panahon ngayon dahil tag-ulan po (We should be alarmed due to the rising number of dengue cases. We should be worried because anyone can get dengue at this time because it is the rainy season),” Atienza said in a televised briefing.
Atienza then cited the situation in Singapore where the mosquito-borne disease caused a higher number of fatality compared to Covid-19.
Dengue chooses no certain age, but experts said that age is an important factor in determining the risk for disease severity after a dengue infection.
“Napakahalaga po na magpakonsulta kung ang lagnat ng bata ay dalawa o tatlong araw na. [Kabilang din sa sintomas ang pagkakaroon ng] rashes, maging ang pagsakit ng tiyan, hindi makakain, at nade-dehydrate. Huwag na po nating hintayin madehydrate ang ating mga anak bago natin dalhin sa doktor (It is important to consult a doctor if the child’s fever is already two or three days old. Symptoms also include the presence of rashes, even abdominal pain, inability to eat, and dehydration. Let us not wait for our children to become dehydrated before we take them to the doctor),” Atienza furthered.
Four o’clock habit
While dengue can be life threatening, it is still preventable, said the expert.
“Paghandaan natin ang cases ng dengue kasi talagang dumadami po. Kahit saang lugar, basta’t may tubig ay maaaring pamugaran ng lamok na nagdadala ng dengue kaya dapat ay sundin natin ‘yung tinatawag na four o’clock habit (Let us prepare for dengue because the cases are really increasing. In any place, as long as there is water, dengue-carrying mosquitoes can lay their eggs, so we must follow the so-called four o’clock habit),” said Atienza
Four o’clock habit is one of the Department of Health’s (DOH) strategies in combating dengue. It is a strategic search for key containers and other breeding sites of mosquitoes at four o’clock in the afternoon in every household.
To institutionalize this, the DOH challenged the public to observe this habit with the use of the so-called 4S strategy. 4S stands for “search and destroy” mosquito sites; employ “self protection measures;” “seek early consultation;” and “support fogging or spraying” in areas where an increase in dengue cases has been recorded to prevent an impending outbreak.