A total of 49 dengue fatalities from January 1 to August 24 were recorded by the Provincial Health Office (PHO) in Negros Occidental, an alarming 67 percent increase compared to the data last year.

The results cover the Morbidity Week 34 where Kabankalan City reported the highest cases at 972 and six fatalities followed by Himamaylan City, with five.

Until Morbidity Week 33, dengue deaths in Negros Occidental were only 39, and Kabankalan City only had four recorded deaths previously.

The number of reported dengue fatalities include Cadiz City, San Carlos City and Cauayan, four each; Sagay City and Bago City, three each; Hinoba-an, Salvador Benedicto, Candoni, and Escalante City, two each; San Enrique, Hinigaran, E.B. Magalona, La Castellana, Manapla, Victorias City, La Carlota City, Calatrava, Binalbagan, Talisay City, Silay City, and Murcia, one each.

 Dr. Ernell Tumimbang, provincial health office calls the increase in fatalities “bad news” but the data still falls under 0.7 percent of the total cases, which is below the 1 percent allowable level.

“Despite that, we still need to work to bring the deaths down. I hope it will not reach 1 percent,” he added.

As of August 24, data showed that Negros Occidental reported a total of 7,208 cases, which is 67 percent higher from only 4,372 cases during the same period in 2018.

Tumimbang, however, insisted that dengue cases have been declining based on weekly monitoring.

The highest cases were reported during Morbidity Weeks 29 and 30, but this time around cases have decreased, he added.

Morbidity Weeks 29 and 30 got the highest dengue cases. On the Morbidity Week 33, a total of 512 new cases were reported but it was down to 398 during Morbidity Week 34.

“Definitely, our efforts have been effective. We just have to sustain this for the coming months. It’s a matter of sustaining what we are doing,” Tumimbang said. (RJ Espartinez)