DUMAGUETE CITY – The province of Negros Oriental has recorded last year its lowest number of dengue cases within a 10-year period.

Records obtained by the Philippine News Agency from the Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (RESU) of the Department of Health (DOH) here showed that Negros Oriental logged 772 dengue cases from January 1 to Dec. 25, 2021.

Dr. Socrates Villamor, DOH provincial health chief who retired last January 1, said in an interview Thursday he is hopeful that even if more dengue cases were added during the remaining six days of the past year, the 2021 figures would still be the lowest in 10 years.

DOH records showed that in 2012, there were 3,437 dengue cases reported in the province; 2013 -- 3,520 cases; 2014 -- 1,482; 2015 -- 2,211; 2016 -- 5,760; 2017 -- 2,168; 2018 -- 2,978; 6,631 -- 2019; and 2020 -- 2,483.

Villamor said the onslaught of Typhoon Odette in the province on Dec. 16, 2021 could trigger dengue infections, especially in areas that were flooded.

The former DOH provincial chief said that the drop in dengue cases in 2020 and 2021 is highly attributed to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

“Because of quarantine restrictions and especially the absence of face-to-face classes in schools, there was very little exposure of people, thus transmission of the dengue virus was contained,” he said in mixed English and Cebuano.

For the year 2021, Negros Oriental also reported zero mortality due to dengue as of Dec. 25, and hopefully, there would be no late reporting of any deaths for the past year, he added.

The top five cities and municipalities with the highest dengue cases last year were Dumaguete with 170; Guihulngan City -- 93; Siaton -- 84; Tanjay City -- 58; and Bais City -- 52. (PNA)