Female of the Asian Tiger Mosquito (Aedes albopictus) biting on human skin and bloodfeeding to generate a new egg batch. Invasive, potentially disease-carrying species around the world, photographed in Catalonia, Spain, where it is present since 2004.

The Dept. of Health (DOH) has declared a national dengue epidemic for the first time in the wake of the 146,062 cases recorded from January up to July this year nationwide. 622 deaths were recorded and were noted to be 98% higher than the same period last year.

The DOH distributed insecticide-treated nets and prioritized all public schools especially with high cases of dengue based on the records of the local government units (LGU’s). These insecticide-treated nets are prevention for mosquitoes and these are also made up of safe and non-toxic materials.

This is one of the primary interventions to prevent and control dengue. Currently, in Central Visayas, 50% of all the public schools and municipalities were already given insecticide-treated nets for free and they are targeting 100%. Based on the DOH Dengue Surveillance report, Region VI in Western Visayas had the most number of cases at 23,330, followed by Region IV-A Calabarzon with 16,515, Region IX Zamboanga Peninsula with 12, 317, Region X Northern Mindanao with 11,455 and Region XII Soccsksargen with 11,083 cases.

The total number of cases nationwide for the 29th Morbidity week alone from July 14-20 is 10,502. This is 71% higher compared to the same period in 2018 with 6,128 cases. Starting today, the Department of Health together with other government agencies, LGU’s, schools, offices, and communities will conduct the Sabayang 4-O’ clock habit for the Dengue Get Out focusing on search and destroy of mosquito breeding sites.

“It’s normal up and down of cases, pero dako atong pag tungod sa response sa atong mga barangays ug munisipyo.” Dr. Jaime Bernades the Regional Director of DOH said. “Let us maintain the cleanliness kay kung wala’y lamok, wala’y dengue.”, he added.

The DOH also wants the public to practice the 4 S: -Search and destroy -Self-protective devices must be used -Say no to fogging -Seek early medication or early check-up The DOH urged the public to intensify the social mobilization program, the anti-dengue campaign in schools and barangays and to also clean their respective houses and environments./HT Lenis