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ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines - The dengue epidemic in this city since early this year has breached the 700 mark with 10 deaths as of Monday.
City health officer Dr. Rodel Agbulos of the City Health Office said the number of cases continues to rise as the disease has reached epidemic levels.
Most of the dengue victims are children. At the Zamboanga City Medical Center, Infection Control Nurse Dina Amazona said that of the 353 patients logged at the hospital since January, 88 patients were adults while 265 were children or teenagers.
The latest victim was a 12-year-old boy from Barangay Labuan who died at a hospital last Thursday.
Dr. Agbulos led a citywide motorcade for “Dengue Advocacy–Noise Barrage" on Monday.
Tuesday has been designated as general clean-up day purposely to let the people know of the dengue outbreak and the need to clean the surroundings, Agbulos said.
Among the affected barangays are Tumaga, Guiwan, Pasonanca, San Roque, San Jose Gusu.
He added the war against dengue fever will not succeed unless strongly supported by every household.
Mayor Celso Lobregat declared last Thursday a dengue fever outbreak by issuing Executive Order CL 452-2012 and mandating the implementation of appropriate measures against the disease.
Records from the City Health Office’s Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit show that over 800 dengue cases have been reported from January to May this year as compared to only 306 cases on the same period last year.
For April alone, 236 dengue cases were registered surpassing the outbreak threshold of 225.
Lobregat said there is an urgent need to undertake immediate interventions to control and prevent the spread of dengue fever in the city by implementing the 4S strategy of the Department of Health -- Search and destroy breeding sites of dengue mosquitoes; Self protection (using mosquito nets, insect repellent, protective clothing); Seek early consultation and management, and Say no to indiscriminate fogging.
The mayor has appealed for voluntary blood donations to ensure availability of supply at the Red Cross blood bank.
The city health officer has convened representatives of private hospitals and other health facilities, including the Zamboanga City Medical Center and other health personnel, on the possibility of setting up fast lanes for dengue patients.