Residents rallied to eradicate ‘sosyal na social pa’ dengue mosquitoes

Residents rallied to eradicate ‘sosyal na social pa’ dengue mosquitoes

The city government has rallied the local community for a concerted effort against dengue fever as cases are feared to have reached alarming levels in the city.

Mayor Benjamin Magalong during the Management Committee meeting June 6 directed the City Health Services Office under Dr. Rowena Galpo to be aggressive in implementing the dengue action plan and to mobilize all concerned sectors to prevent cases from further shooting up especially in the third and fourth quarters of the year.

Galpo said the action plan employs a multi-pronged approach involving all barangays, schools and hospitals.

City Epidemiologist Dr. Donnabel Panes and Sanitation Division Chief Engr. Charles Bryan Carame during the Ugnayan press briefing June 8 said cases have reached 241 or double of last year’s figure.  A total of 13 barangays are now considered hotspots for clustering of cases.

They called on residents to religiously and simultaneously practice the 4 o’clock habit or the habitual search and destruction of mosquito breeding sites as the first step in the 4S strategy.

The rest are: Self-Protection Measures (use window screens, mosquito nets, wear protective clothing, use insect repellents); Seek Early Consultation; and Support Fogging and Spraying when Necessary

They said the dengue virus-carrying mosquito species known as Aedes Aegypti and Aedes Albopictus have the characteristics of being “sosyal” as they only breed in clean stagnant water and “social” as they inhabit places where people converge.

They are low-flying and have a flight range of 300 meters so clean-ups must be done simultaneously otherwise, they will just transfer to another unclean place.

Carame whose teams spearhead the search and destroy and fogging operations of the various district health centers in the barangays said they mobilize the affected residents to adopt the search and destroy habit.  He said the common factors observed in areas with case clustering are the presence of uncovered drums, bottles, tires and plants that accumulate water like fortune plants and bromeliad.

They also conduct targeted fogging and spraying in households with clustering of cases as the last resort in dengue eradication or after conducting thorough clean-ups of the surroundings.

He reminded that spraying is done only at the last stage and only in targeted areas because doing it indiscriminately or without cleaning and destroying the source would be an exercise in futility.  He said they also discourage band-aid solutions like the use of “katol” which work only to drive away and not destroy the mosquitoes and thus only give people a “false sense of security.”

Carame said the dengue action plan follows the Prevent-Detect-Isolate-Treat-Reintegrate (PDITR) approach: prevent through search and destroy operations; detect through rapid testing and conduct of larval surveillance where samples of “kiti-kiti” are studied to predict an impending outbreak; isolate through a campaign for dengue-infected individuals to protect themselves from being bitten; treatment through aggressive case reporting system and provision of dengue wards and fast lanes in hospitals; and reintegration through the sustained conduct of the strategies with the fact that dengue immunity do not cover all strains as a motivation.

Panes said they have launched the “100 Days to a Dengue-Free Baguio” where residents are encouraged to regularly conduct search and destroy operations, document the same and post in social media.

“You may use the hashtag #ditobaguiodenguenono and post in your accounts or you can do a Tiktok because why not make cleaning fun.  After all you’re not cleaning just for yourself but you’re also cleaning for others,” Panes said.

She added that cases are expected to increase in the coming days especially when school opens and people get more mobile so people should be more vigilant against the disease.

Panes said unlike in coronavirus disease, the prevention of dengue fever cases lies largely on the community.

“Unlike in COVID where we can’t see the virus, in dengue we have the means and the power to destroy the mosquitoes that cause the illness.  Kung sabay-saby nating pupuksain ang mga lamok, walang dengue.  We have to have a conscious effort to look for and destroy the breeding sites and the mosquito population so there will be no more dengue,” she said. – Aileen P. Refuerzo