It’s swatting time again as cases of dengue fever in the city of Baguio has more than tripled this year, City Epidemiologist Dr. Donnabel Panes said.
As of July 17, the city has seen some 416 cases of dengue fever during the year thus far, with five deaths having been recorded to date.
This is a tripling of the dengue numbers of the entirety of last year, not just the equivalent time period or first half of 2020.
Throughout the entirety of last year, according to Panes, the city only saw 103 cases in total.
Clustering of the disease has also been reported in 19 of the city’s barangays.
“We have lots of challenges ahead because as we continue to have COVID-19 cases amid the looming threat of the more harmful variants, we are also faced with increasing cases of dengue which is taking a toll on our hospital care system,” Baguio Mayor Benjamin Magalong said.
In Benguet, the provincial health office also reported a total of 483 cases in different areas from January 1 to June 30 this year.
Dr. Nora Ruiz, Benguet Provincial Health officer, said this is higher than the 255 cases during the same period last year.
She said the clustering was recorded in five barangays in the municipality of Itogon; two barangays in Kabayan; four in La Trinidad; two in Mankayan and one in Tuba. Three deaths were recorded due to dengue.
The spike in cases has made the provincial government decide to reactivate the Provincial Dengue Task Force it created in 2019.
Meanwhile, SLU Hospital of the Sacred Heart (SLUHSH) Medical Director Dr. Paul Quitiquit said that the SLUHSH has admitted some 80 cases of dengue in the past month and a half, averaging two cases per day.
“We predict this to increase further in the weeks to come especially with the start of the rainy season. We have our hands full with COVID and now with dengue. We are already anticipating shortage in rooms and shortage of platelets for severe dengue cases. May we also look at how we can address this problem so we can already prepare for the possible increase,” he said.
“We saw that breeding grounds of the dengue-carrying mosquitoes thrived inside the homes, in clean water containers used by the family but are not stored properly,” the doctor said.
Norelyn Aspiras, blood program coordinator at the City Health Services Office (HSO), on Thursday hopes the rise in dengue cases would have the accompanying increase in blood donation.
She said supply at the different blood banks in the city has been insufficient and even dropped when the pandemic struck.
“Kulang na kulang po ang supply natin at baka lalong magka problema lalo at nakikita natin ang pagtaas ng dengue kung saan may mga pasyente na nangangailangan ng blood transfusion (we lack supply and we might experience more shortage with the rise of dengue cases as some patients require blood transfusion),” she said.
She said they do not stop informing the public on the importance of blood donation. She said they also conduct mass blood donation activities to encourage donation among the public.
Aspiras said that with students in their homes, the usual blood donation activities in schools which are the top sources of blood supply, have been stopped. “We invite the public, please continue donating blood not only because your loved ones need it, but also because there are others who are in need,” she said.