COTABATO CITY – Region 12, comprising the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and the cities of Cotabato and General Santos, has recorded a 151-percent increase in dengue cases from January 1 to July 6 of this year compared with the same period last year.

Jenny Ventura Panizales, the Department of Health’s (DOH) regional focal person for dengue and measles prevention, said in an interview over DXMY radio that the region had recorded 9,363 dengue cases, compared with 3,727 cases last year.  This was “quite alarming” for the region, she said.

The province of North Cotabato had the highest number of dengue cases at 3,314, followed by South Cotabato (2,976), Sultan Kudarat (1,281), Sarangani (869), General Santos (535) and Cotabato City (388).

South Cotabato has reported 15 dengue-related deaths; North Cotabato, 14; Sultan Kudarat, 8; and Sarangani, 3. There was one fatality each for Cotabato City and General Santos City.

Panizales said the youngest to die of the dreaded disease was a two-month-old baby, while the oldest was 97 years old.

On Tuesday, the DOH declared a national dengue alert amid the rapid increase in the number of dengue infection cases in several regions.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said dengue infection cases nationwide from January to June this year had reached 106,630, or 85 percent higher compared with the same period last year (57,564).  (Rommel F. Lopez with PNA)