By Roel Amazona, PNA

PALO, Leyte — Dengue fever has already killed 53 people in Eastern Visayas region (Region 8) while confirmed cases have reached 17,670 from January to August 31 or more than three-fold the actual cases diagnosed last year.

Most confirmed cases are in Leyte province with 4,633 cases or 26 percent of the regional total. This is followed by Samar (3,014 cases), Eastern Samar (2,190 cases), Northern Samar (1,371 cases), Biliran (548 cases), and Southern Leyte (487 cases).

This year’s figure reported by the Department of Health regional office on Friday is 327.12 percent higher compared to the same period in 2018 when only 4,134 cases were recorded. There were only 26 deaths from January to August last year.

Among the cities, Tacloban has the most number of dengue cases with 2,248, followed by the cities of Calbayog 1,029, and Catbalogan with 777, DOH regional information officer John Paul Roca said in an interview.

The age range of dengue victims is from 1 month to 88 years old, but most of those who suffered the mosquito-borne disease are children under eight years old to 14 years.

Of the six provinces in the region, only Biliran and Northern Samar have not declared a state of calamity due to dengue.

The cities of Ormoc and Tacloban have both declared a state of calamity due to the spike in dengue cases.

“Although dengue cases are higher in 2019 than in the same period the previous year, the number of reported dengue cases has been decreasing since last week,” Roca told the Philippine News Agency (PNA)

To combat the disease, the DOH has been encouraging local government units and residents in the region to do regular clean-up drive to destroy mosquito breeding sites.

“If we fail to address the dengue problem immediately and if people will not cooperate in the initiatives by the government, the number of cases in the region is projected to reach 28,000 by December with 80 deaths,” Roca added.

Last August, Samar Governor Milagrosa Tan issued an executive order declaring four consecutive Saturdays as clean-up drive day in the entire province.

This week, Eastern Samar Governor Ben Evardone issued an executive order declaring four Fridays as a special non-working holiday in all government offices in the province starting Sept. 13. The drive is focused on searching and destroying mosquito breeding sites.

The official reiterated the DOH’s “4S” to fight dengue as an effective strategy to prevent cases and deaths.

The “4S” strategy means search and destroy mosquito breeding places, seek early consultation, self-protection method, and support fogging/spraying only in hot spot areas, where an increase in cases is registered for two consecutive weeks, to prevent an impending outbreak.

Dengue fever is marked by the onset of sudden high fever, severe headache, and pain behind the eyes, muscles, and joints. Some may develop rashes and varying degrees of bleeding in different parts of the body. (PNA)

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