Saturday, August 20, 2011

Dengue cases in NCR double; nationwide figure declines


The number of dengue cases in Metro Manila doubled from January to the first week of August this year to 10,487 cases even though the number of cases nationwide during the same period has significantly declined.

Based on Department of Health (DOH) figures, there were 5,416 dengue cases in the National Capital Region (NCR) from January to first week of August last year.

Marikina only city in Metro Manila with fewer dengue cases
Although the total number of dengue cases in Metro Manila has doubled, Marikina City has fewer dengue cases this year compared to last year.

From January to early August this year, only Marikina has reported a drop in the number of dengue cases throughout the National Capital Region (NCR).

As of August 6, Marikina only reported 209 dengue cases in their city, a far cry from Quezon City's 3,034 cases.

The 209 cases from January 1 to August 6 is eight percent lower than the 219 cases recorded in the same period last year. (Read more)

On the other hand, DOH records show that there were 45,333 dengue cases nationwide during the same period this year, significantly lower than the 68,168 during the same period last year.

As of DOH's last update, the number of dengue cases in Metro Manila makes up 23 percent of the nationwide figure.

Of the 267 reported deaths due to dengue this year, 26 percent are from the National Capital Region. This means that one out of four dengue deaths is from Metro Manila.

This year, in the NCR, almost all cities and Pateros have a higher number of dengue cases.

Only Marikina City has reported a lesser number of dengue cases this year compared to last year.

Dengue outbreaks

Aside from the NCR, other regions with notable increase in dengue cases from 2010 to 2011 (as of the first week of August) are:
Region 1 with a 286 percent increase;
Region 2 with a 103 percent increase, and
Region 3 with a 227 percent increase.

Dengue outbreaks have been declared in 16 cities and municipalities nationwide as of August 6 this year.

Health authorities declare an outbreak in an area when the number of cases is more than the expected range.

In Luzon, the provinces of Ilocos Sur and La Union have recently declared a state of calamity due to dengue.

Dengue hotspots

As of August 6 this year, 22 barangays have been identified as "dengue clusters" or "dengue hotspots" in Metro Manila and most of them are in Quezon City.

An area is considered a hotspot when there are clustering of cases with increasing number in two consecutive weeks.

Clustering of cases is considered when there are three or more cases in a barangay for the past four consecutive weeks.

GMA News Research notes that there are more dengue hotspots in Metro Manila this year compared to 2010 as of August.

Dengue hotspots in Metro Manila also seemed to have appeared earlier this year than in 2010.

This year, from March 6 -12, Barangay Gen. T. De Leon in Valenzuela was declared as a dengue hotspot.

On the other hand, in 2010, the first declared dengue hotspot was Marulas, Valenzuela in August 1 to 7.

Consistent hotspots since 2008

Four barangays have been dengue hotspots or clusters since 2008:
Marulas, Valenzuela;
Karuhatan, Valenzuela;
Gen. T. de Leon, Valenzuela, and
Payatas in Quezon City

Barangay Marulas in Valenzuela was a dengue hotspot both last year and this year. Since 2008, the area has also been a site of dengue clustering.

As of August 6 this year, health authorities have recorded 11 dengue deaths in Valenzuela City out of the 782 reported cases.

This puts the case fatality rate, or the deaths relative to the number of cases, at 1.41 percent -- higher than the national figure which is only at .67 percent.

Dengue awareness campaign

Dr. Irvin Miranda, Medical Dengue Coordinator of Valenzuela City Health Office, said the city has been faithfully implementing dengue awareness campaigns and clean-up drives whole year round.

Of the 782 reported cases in Valenzuela as of August 6, Miranda notes that only three percent were confirmed dengue cases; the rest are suspected dengue cases and are for observation and laboratory confirmation.

Most populated areas

Miranda attributes the susceptibility to dengue of the residents of the three barangays — Marulas, Karuhatan and Gen. T. De Leon— to population density and congestion.

Gen. T de Leon is among the top ten most populated barangays in Metro Manila.

In fact, GMA News Research notes, seven of the 10 most populous barangays in Metro Manila have been identified as either dengue clusters or hotspots.

These barangays are Brgy 176 in Kalookan, Commonwealth, Batasan Hills, Payatas and Holy Spirit in Quezon City and Gen T. De Leon in Valenzuela City and Putatan in Muntinlupa.

A third, or 30 percent, of the QC barangays declared with dengue cluster or hotspot are urban poor communities: Payatas, Commonwealth, Batasan Hills and Holy Spirit.

Says Dr. Rolly Cruz , epidemiologist of the Quezon City Health Office, "Ang daming tao sa lugar na ito. Saka among areas in QC, sila ang may pinakamataas na population density."

"Bukod sa population, syempre kapag may dengue mosquito, ibig sabihin dito sa mga lugar na ito may mga dengue breeding sites. Hindi malinis ang mga areas na ito kaya nabubuhay ang mga lamok," Cruz added.

Like the three barangays in Valenzuela, Payatas has also been a dengue hotspot or cluster for at least four years.

A disease surveillance officer, Cruz said, "Kasi ang problema, hindi nagkukusa ng paglilinis ang mga tao. Saka kung ikaw, linis ka nang linis sa bakuran mo, yung kapitbahay mo naman, hindi wala rin. Kasi hindi naman limited sa loob ng bahay eh, pagkalabas mo sa school, sa community, puede kapa rin makagat. "

Mosquito breeding places

Health officials have been issuing reminders to the public that cleaning up the neighborhood is still the best way to protect the community from dengue and get rid of mosquito breeding places.

Water containers have always been cited as among the most possible breeding places. These containers are commonly found in informal settler communities.

Maynilad Corporate Affairs says water coverage in Brgy. Holy Spirit, Batasan & Payatas, QC has reached approximately 95% with the remaining 5% source their supply from private water, tankers, neighbors with Maynilad connections or small deepwells.

In Barangay Holy Spirit, recently noted for clustering of dengue cases, many residents still collect rain water for household use.

"Community effort talaga ang laban sa dengue, " Cruz says. "Every year na lang kami nagka-campaign, pumupunta sa mga komunidad pero ganun pa rin eh. Mahirap talagang baguhin ang pag-uugali ng mga tao. Hangga't di nagkakaroon ng dengue sa pamilya, hindi nila nakikita nang kahalagahan ng pag-aalaga sa kapaligiran. "

Mapping by Brenda Barrientos; research and interviews from Aedrianne Acar, Florian Balmes and Mary Ann Señir, GMA News Research

- Carmela Lapeña, VVP/RSJ, GMA News


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