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MANILA, Philippines - Psy's "Gangnam Style," Youtube's most viewed video of all time, did not only make the world dance, it also helped lower the incidence of firecracker-related injuries in the Philippines during the Yuletide season.
This was according to Department of Health Secretary Enrique Ona, who attributed the decrease to Assistant Secretary Dr. Eric Tayag's "Aksyon Paputok Injury Reduction, (APIR) Iwas Paputok" campaign that saw the DOH spokesperson gyrating to the phenomenal Korean horse-riding dance craze.
The DOH reported on Tuesday 413 cases of fireworks-related injuries including eight from stray bullets and one from firework ingestion from December 21, 2012 to January 1 , 2013.
DOH data showed that the total figure is 17 percent lower compared to the same period last year wherein 498 cases of fireworks-related injuries were recorded.
It is also 12 percent lower than the five-year average, according to the department.
The latest figure, however, does not include the case of a seven-year-old boy from Novaliches, Quezon City, who is now in critical condition after he was hit by a stray bullet.
“This incident was not yet included in our data that we released today,” Ona said during a press briefing at the East Avenue Medical Center in Quezon City.
The DOH said daily tallies would continue until January 5 to anticipate additional injuries incurred after the New Year and delayed hospital visits among the injured.
Based on the latest figure, 80 percent of those injured were males. The most affected were those aged six to 10 years with 116 cases.
More injuries (273 cases or 68 percent) occurred on the streets.
A total of 204 of the victims or about 50 percent were active users of fireworks.
Among the injured adults age 20 and above, 39 or 20 percent had prior history of drinking alcohol while using fireworks.
A total of 344 people (85 percent) suffered from blast and/or burn injuries without amputation. Fifty-one or 13 percent suffered from eye injuries.
Fifteen people or 4 percent sufferred from blast and/or injuries that needed amputation. Among them is a 17-year-old male from Valenzuela City who had his right hand amputated.
Of those who were injured, 219 or 54 percent used prohibited firecrackers.
A total of 148 people or 37 percent used Piccolo, 57 percent used kwitis, and 12 percent used unknown fireworks.
The National Capital Region with 241 cases or 58 percent had the most number of injuries.
In Manila, 97 people were injured, followed by Quezon City with 50 victims, and Valenzuela City with 18.
Half of those hit by stray bullets were females aged 20 to 60 mostly from Cotabato. There were no fatalities.