(PNA file photo)

TACLOBAN CITY – Dengue fever cases continue to rise in Eastern Visayas with 15 deaths and 5,616 patients downed by infected mosquito bites from Jan. 1 to Nov. 22 this year, the Department of Health (DOH) reported on Wednesday.

The number of cases this year is 682 percent higher compared to the same period in 2021 with 718 cases.

No fatality was recorded due to dengue fever in the region last year.

DOH regional information officer Jelyn Lopez-Malibago said deaths were reported in Ormoc City and Jaro in Leyte province; Taft and Hernani in Eastern Samar; and Maasin City, Liloan, Padre Burgos, Saint Bernard, and San Juan in Southern Leyte.

“The DOH records an increase of dengue fever cases in the region, based on the pattern, that case usually rises every three to four years. This is expected considering that the last outbreak was experienced last 2019,” Malibago said in a phone interview.

In 2019, the region recorded 26,263 dengue fever cases and 75 deaths for the entire year.

Of the 5,616 patients, 2,400 were logged in Leyte province, 1,397 in Southern Leyte, 564 in Samar, 430 in Eastern Samar, 541 in Biliran and 284 in Northern Samar.

The DOH said eight villages in Ormoc City, Tacloban City, Leyte, Northern Samar, and Southern Leyte provinces have a clustering of cases or have three to four infected in the past four weeks.

“The DOH has strengthened its surveillance, health promotion, education, and advocacy activities and has conducted meetings with local governments and other partner agencies in order to mitigate the further increase of cases and deaths caused by dengue,” Malibago added.

The health department reminded the public to do the task of preventing dengue such as the "4S" strategy, especially since the rainy season has started.

The "4S" strategy includes search and destroy mosquito breeding places, seeking early consultation, self-protection methods, and support fogging/spraying only in hot spot 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 different parts of the body.

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