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Friday, July 19, 2024

Herbosa urges public to protect themselves against mosquitoes, avoid dengue

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As dengue cases begin to plateau and potentially rise across the Philippines, Health (DOH) Secretary Teodoro Herbosa advised citizens to protect themselves against mosquitoes, the carriers of this dangerous virus.

Herbosa called on the public to actively search and destroy stagnant water. “More water means more mosquito breeding grounds,” he stressed, underscoring the importance of eliminating standing water in containers and other areas around homes and communities.

The Department of Health (DOH) is on high alert as the previously declining trend in dengue cases is now showing signs of leveling off.

“This could be the start of a rise in cases nationwide—if we will not search and destroy ‘mosquito water’—stagnant water in any areas or containers that may breed dengue mosquitoes,” the DOH warned. 

As of June 1, 2024, the DOH has recorded 70,498 dengue cases and 197 deaths since the beginning of the year.

Recent data highlights that in the last 3-4 weeks, there were 5,368 new cases, a slight increase from the 5,305 cases reported two weeks prior. While the most recent 1-2 weeks saw a lower figure of 3,793 cases, the DOH remains cautious in interpreting this data.

Notably, seven regions have shown increases in dengue cases over the past month: Cordillera, Ilocos, Zamboanga Peninsula, Cagayan Valley, Caraga, MiMaRoPa, and Northern Mindanao.

To ensure accurate monitoring and effective public health responses, the DOH has instructed all hospitals and clinics to promptly report dengue cases.

Adding to the urgency, a scientific review by Reinhold et al. (2018) highlights the role of environmental temperature in mosquito development and activity.

The study found that higher temperatures, ranging between 26°C and 35°C, significantly accelerate the feeding rate of female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which are the primary carriers of the dengue virus.

Dengue is prevalent in tropical climates like in the Philippines. Common symptoms in serious cases include high fever (around 40°C), severe headache, muscle and joint pains, nausea, and rash. 

Other symptoms may include pain behind the eyes, vomiting, and swollen glands. In severe cases, dengue can be life-threatening, necessitating hospitalization. 

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