30 June 2009

Dengue Outbreak in Isabela

Photo courtesy of Bruno Biagioni Neto
Residents of Santiago City in Isabela, Philippines should take extra precaution against mosquito after Charlie Lagasca of Philstar reported that a dengue outbreak was declared in the area. The declaration came after the number of cases of persons afflicted with the dreaded disease continued to increase since January this year, including three recent deaths of three grade schooler. One of the victims was grade one pupil Francine Obra of Ramon town.

Likewise, classes had been suspended in a private elementary school for three days over the week in the city’s adjacent Ramon town, also in Isabela following fears of possible spread of dengue among schoolchildren in the said southwestern town.

Santiago City’s dengue outbreak declaration came after 181 cases of dengue. Of this, 67 cases have been reported this month alone while at least 30 cases were monitored last May, with Health officials expressing alarm that cases may increase with the onset of the rainy season.

Health officials said the number of reported cases in the city were remarkably higher than in the same period last year, prompting the declaration of a dengue epidemic throughout the city.

Dengue is transmitted by the bite of an Aedes mosquito infected with any one of the four dengue viruses. It occurs in tropical and sub-tropical areas of the world. Symptoms appear 3—14 days after the infective bite. Dengue fever is a febrile illness that affects infants, young children and adults.

Symptoms range from a mild fever, to incapacitating high fever, with severe headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pain, and rash. There are no specific antiviral medicines for dengue. It is important to maintain hydration. Use of acetylsalicylic acid (e.g. aspirin) and non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g. Ibuprofen) is not recommended.

Dengue haemorrhagic fever (fever, abdominal pain, vomiting, bleeding) is a potentially lethal complication, affecting mainly children. Early clinical diagnosis and careful clinical management by experienced physicians and nurses increase survival of patients.