Eastern Visayas (Region 8) exceeded its recorded number of Dengue cases and fatalities from last year for more than three times this year with 52 deaths and 17,670 confirmed cases from January to August 31.

Leyte province got the most number of Dengue cases with 4,633 or 26 percent of the regional total. Samar followed with 3,014, Eastern Samar with 2,190 cases, Northern Samar with 1,371 cases, Biliran with 548 cases, and Southern Leyte with 487 cases.

The Department of Health regional office released the figure last Friday confirming the spike of cases and fatalities from last year. According to the report, the dengue cases reported this year is 327.12 percent higher compared to the same period in 2018 with only 4,134 cases and 26 fatalities.

Tacloban, on the other hand, got the most number of dengue cases among the cities with 2,248, followed by the cities of Calbayog 1,029, and Catbalogan with 777, as revealed by John Paul Roca, DOH regional information officer.

Children under eight to 14 years old suffered the most from dengue.

Biliran and Northern Samar have not declared a state of calamity of all the six provinces in the region while Ormoc and Tacloban took the initiative to declare a state of calamity due to the alarming spike of 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 stated.

DOH has been active in encouraging local government units and residents in the region to do regular clean-up drives and destroy mosquito breeding sites to finally combat the deadly disease.

“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.

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

Furthermore, Eastern Samar Governor Ben Evardone declared four Fridays as a special non-working holiday in all government offices in the province starting Sept. 13 in an executive order. The initiative aims to search and destroy mosquito breeding sites.

The “4S” strategy was introduced by DOH to fight back against the rising cases and fatalities of dengue. This strategy focuses on searching and destroying mosquito breeding places, seeking early consultation, self-protection method, and support fogging/spraying only in hot spot areas to prevent the outbreak.

Symptoms of dengue are sudden high fever, severe headache, and pain behind the eyes, muscles, and joints. Other may develop rashes and varying degrees of bleeding in different parts of the body. (RJ Espartinez)