SWATTING OUT DENGUE. A fogging activity inside a classroom to kill mosquitoes in Maasin City, Southern Leyte in this undated photo. Dengue fever has already claimed the lives of 17 people in Eastern Visayas while 6,097 patients were sent to hospitals during the first 11 months of the year, the Department of Health (DOH) reported on Wednesday (Dec. 7, 2022). (Photo courtesy of Maasin City local government)

TACLOBAN CITY – Dengue fever has already claimed the lives of 17 people in Eastern Visayas while 6,097 patients were sent to hospitals during the first 11 months of the year, up by 685.77 percent compared to the same period last year, the Department of Health (DOH) reported on Wednesday.

DOH Eastern Visayas Regional Director Exuperia Sabalberino said most of the cases this year were recorded in Southern Leyte due to the impacts of Typhoon Odette that battered the province in late 2021.

“The increase is caused by the strong typhoon. Damaged houses and fallen trees become breeding sites of mosquitoes. The situation is now controlled,” Sabalberino told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) in a brief interview.

The number of cases this year is nearly seven times higher compared to the same period in 2021 with only 775 cases. No fatality was recorded due to dengue fever in the region last year.

In an update sent by the DOH regional office, deaths were recorded in Ormoc City, Palo and Jaro in Leyte province; Taft, Borongan City and Hernani in Eastern Samar; and Maasin City, Liloan, Padre Burgos, Saint Bernard and San Juan in Southern Leyte.

In the past three weeks, new deaths were reported in Palo, Leyte and Borongan City in Eastern Samar.

Of the 6,097 patients, 2,595 were logged in Leyte province, 1,454 in Southern Leyte, 625 in Samar, 575 in Eastern Samar, 548 in Biliran and 300 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,” Sabalberino 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)