LEGAZPI CITY -- The fight against the spread of dengue virus in Bicol continues as cases keep on surging despite the intensified control measures carried out by health authorities.

The Department of Health (DOH) Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Unit (RESU) said that the latest count covering the period Jan. 1 to Aug. 24 this year shows at least 5,846 Bicolanos fell ill due to dengue and 40 of them, mostly children, have died, said Dr. Aurora Daluro, DOH-RESU chief.

She said that currently, there are 102 villages in the 33 towns and cities across the region that were declared as dengue “hotspots” due to the increasing number of cases in these areas.

Daluro said with Bicol’s 6 million population, the dengue ratio is now 95 per 100,000 people.

Dengue control measures have been carried out by an inter-agency Emergency Operation Center organized by the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC).

Also, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) in Bicol has directed all governors and town and city mayors to regularly hold a “Sabayang 4 O’clock habit para Deng-Get Out” cleanliness drive in the six provinces down to the 3,741 villages in the region.

Meanwhile, Dr. Ernie Vera, DOH regional director, when asked about the factor that contributes to the rising number of dengue cases despite the control measures being adopted, he said the “environment and the weather are not cooperating with our campaign against dengue”.

He said in a phone interview that the rainy season would stay until November and “with more rains, we expect the incidence to remarkably increase”.

He said the rain is a major contributor to the spread of the disease because it produces puddles that become a breeding ground for mosquitos.

Asked about the cooperation of the local government units in the campaign, Vera, quoting a report from the DILG said so far, only 30 percent or 1,122 villages are holding a synchronized cleanliness and sanitation drive in their respective areas.

He said the DILG units are closely monitoring whether the agency directive is being pursued in various provinces, towns, cities, and barangays.

He noted that the region had been placed under a “blue alert” by the DRRMC due to the rising incidence of dengue cases. (PNA)