DoH reiterates dengue prevention call as rainy season begins

30 May 2011

By Anna Valmero

QUEZON CITY, METRO MANILA— The Department of Health (DoH) is reminding the public to dispose containers that might collect water and clean up potential breeding grounds of dengue-carrying mosquitoes.

“Now is the best time to search for and destroy mosquito breeding grounds so we can limit the population density even before the the rainy season hits,” said Dr. Lyndon Lee Suy, program manager of the Institute for Emerging and Re-emerging Diseases at DoH.

“If we do not limit the population of mosquitoes, chances are there are more mosquitoes to bite people and transfer dengue,” Lee Suy said.

Mosquitoes are very prolific breeders; it only takes 12 days for a mosquito egg to become an adult mosquito. A female Aedes aegypti mosquito (the specie that carries dengue) is fertile throughout its life and can lay 60 to 100 eggs each time.

Dengue has become a year-long communicable disease. With the upcoming rainy season, cases are expected to increase significantly.

There are already 115 deaths from a total 18,885 cases of dengue reported in DoH sentinel hospitals from January to April 9, according to dengue surveillance data from the DoH.

Earlier this month, Typhoon Bebeng left Manila flooded in just a matter of hours, posing risks to residents in areas where flood waters remain stagnant and turn into breeding grounds for disease-carrying mosquitoes.

Local government units such as Quezon City have been reminding the city residents keep their surroundings clean and dry.

The Quezon City Engineering Department (QCED) has been conducting continuous cleaning, desilting and dredging of the city’s canals, esteros and inlets in preparation for the rainy season, said chief engineer Joselito Cabungcal.

The DoH advises the public to inspect and regularly replace water in flower vases, pails and uncovered containers as they become mosquito breeding grounds.

Lee Suy also suggests inspecting the bottom of the refrigerator, kitchen sink or bathroom floor for  stagnant water. If there is stagnant water that cannot be covered, put salt to kill the mosquito larvae.  He also advises putting nets on open windows to prevent mosquitoes from entering the house.

Parents are also advised to apply insect repellant lotions on their kids and make them wear protective clothing such as long-sleeved tops, jogging pants and shoes.

“Mosquitoes bite during very early in the morning and very late in the afternoon, the same time when kids go to and arrive from school. It would also help to keep kids dry from sweat as this attracts mosquitoes,” said Lee Suy.