Negros Occidental records over 258% increase in flu-like illnesses

By Nanette Guadalquiver

December 5, 2023, 6:18 pm

BACOLOD CITY – Cases of influenza-like illness in Negros Occidental increased by 258.93 percent from Jan. 1 to Dec. 2 this year compared to the same period in 2022, a surveillance report released by the Provincial Health Office (PHO) on Tuesday showed.

Some 2,211 cases have been reported since the start of 2023, higher by 1,595 from the previous year’s 616 cases in the province’s 31 cities and municipalities, excluding this highly urbanized city.

Dr. Ma. Girlie Pinongan, provincial health officer, said changes in weather conditions usually cause influenza-like illness, characterized by fever, fatigue, cough, sore throat, and body aches.

“With the increase in cases, we should be cautious, although there are no reports of severe condition or outbreak. Avoid close contact with those with symptoms, and wear a mask, especially in closed spaces,” Pinonga told reporters.

Local government units with the top 10 highest number of cases include Isabela with 1,680; San Carlos City, 129; Murcia, 80; Bago City, 57; Talisay City, 50; Hinigaran, 20; Cadiz City, 19; Don Salvador Benedicto, Silay City and Victorias City, 16 each.

In an earlier statement, the Department of Health (DOH) said that based on the historical data since 2009, influenza-like illness case increases coincide with the onset of rainy and colder months.

“Hence, we are implementing strict monitoring of cases as we anticipate a rise in cases in the coming months,” it added.

The DOH also said the higher cases this year are observed most in diseases under surveillance, attributed to the strengthened surveillance efforts for the other diseases as the country shifts its focus from the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

Pinongan said that government hospitals in Negros Occidental have no admissions for Covid-19 patients. While there are positive cases, they are not severe or admitted in private hospitals as of last week. (PNA)