FIGHTING DENGUE. Fogging activities to combat dengue fever in Tacloban City in this undated photo. Dengue fever cases in Eastern Visayas climbed to 4,318 from January to the end of August this year with 13 deaths, the Department of Health reported on Tuesday (Sept. 6, 2022). (Photo courtesy of Tacloban city information office)

TACLOBAN CITY – Dengue fever cases in Eastern Visayas climbed to 4,318 from January to the end of August this year with 13 deaths, the Department of Health (DOH) reported on Tuesday.

The figure is bigger than the 501 dengue cases recorded in the same period in 2021, according to the health department.

“The number of cases in the past two years was low and it was expected to increase this year based on the three-year pattern. We also have more intensified case-finding activities this year compared to previous years,” said Leonido Olobia, DOH Eastern Visayas regional dengue program manager in a phone interview.

At least 13 patients died from this illness from Ormoc City and Jaro in Leyte; Taft and Hernani in Eastern Samar; Calbayog City and Catbalogan City in Samar; and Maasin City, Liloan, Padre Burgos, Saint Bernard, and San Juan in Southern Leyte province.

Despite the surge compared to last year, Olobia said cases have been going down in recent weeks as local government units have stepped up their campaign to combat dengue.

The health department reminded the public of dengue prevention measures such as the "4S" strategy, especially since the rainy season has started.

The "4S" strategy covers the search and destroy mosquito breeding places, seeking early consultation, self-protection methods, and support fogging/spraying only in hotspot areas, where an increase in cases is registered for two consecutive weeks to prevent an outbreak.

Dengue fever is marked by the onset of sudden high fever, severe headache, and pain behind the eyes, muscles, and joints.

Some may develop rashes and varying degrees of bleeding in various parts of the body.

The health department asked city and town mayors to regularly organize cleanup campaigns focusing on destroying mosquito-breeding places in their areas. (PNA)