PHO official: Destroying breeding sites more effective to fight dengue

The best way to contain vector-borne diseases like dengue is to adopt a ‘risk-reduction’ strategy which includes destroying all mosquito breeding sites, said Dr. Noel Ismael Pastor, Provincial Health Office (PHO) chief on public health.

“Since the mosquito which carries the dengue virus is mobile, the most practical way of containing it is to wipe out the places where they could populate,” explained Pastor.

Dengue-infected mosquitoes, Aedes Aegypti, lay eggs in places where there’s stagnant water such as flower pots, containers, bottle caps and pot holes.

Pastor stressed that cleanliness and sanitation is the key to contain dengue, adding that misting operations will just serve as complement. Ongoing misting operations would be “less effective if mosquitoes would continue to have breeding places, he added.

“The mosquitoes would just move to another area during misting if nearby households and surroundings have sites where they could lay eggs,” he said.

Last month, Cebu Provincial Government created the PHO-led Task Force ‘Kontra Lamok’ to conduct province-wide cleanup drives to curb the spread of dengue.

Meanwhile, Pastor cited the guidelines of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council as basis of his declaration of the dengue outbreak last week.

He said local government units are allowed to declare an outbreak in their areas as long as the criteria recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) are met.

For a disease to qualify as an outbreak, WHO benchmark necessitates at least

1 death for every 100,000 persons or 114 dengue cases for every 100,000 persons, explained Pastor.

Based on this record, he said the Province reached WHO’s criteria.

Pastor added PHO earlier sent a letter to the Governor recommending the declaration of a dengue outbreak in Cebu, which, he said will be formally announced this week.

Pastor said he already called Renan Cimafranca, head of the DOH 7’s Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit, and explained to him the basis of such declaration.

PHO monitoring team leader Cyril Pangatungan said dengue cases started to hike in the month of August. Eleven municipalities accounted for 3,421 of the 5, 505 cases, he added.

Toledo City has 545 cases, Balamban 459 cases, Carcar has 376, Liloan has 338, Talisay City 317, Consolacion has 303, Danao City has 239, San Fernando has 237 while Cordova has 220, Naga 204, and Medellin 183.

Last week, the Provincial Risk Reduction and Management Council approved a proposal classifying the dengue outbreak as a calamity. (Kelvin Canizares with reports from Fides Palicte)