The City Health Office (CHO) on Friday urged Dabawenyos to practice the 4 O’Clock Habit, noting the increase of dengue cases in Davao City.

Although the number is still manageable, Dr Josephine Villafuerte, the CHO chief medical officer, said the public must make sure their surroundings do not have breeding grounds of the dengue-carrying mosquitoes.

The dengue virus is transmitted by day-biting Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes.

“It is everyone’s responsibility to make sure their homes are kept clean at all times. We are urging everyone to practice the 4 O’Clock habit,” Villafuerte said.

Villafuerte also urged Dabawenyos to coordinate with the Ancillary Services Unit (ASU) if they need help in cleaning the canals and other areas.

“They can contact ASU and then it will be ASU that will call us to do herbicide or misting,” she said. “We urge everyone to dry up and clean up their surroundings and destroy the breeding grounds for the dengue-causing mosquito,” she added.

Melodina Bavante, a pest control worker at the CHO, said storing of water increases the risk of dengue since the blue drums are favorite breeding grounds of the mosquitoes.

Among the identified dengue hotspots in the city are Cabantian, Buhangin Proper, Catalunan Grande, Matina Crossing, Agdao, Calinan, Marilog, Talomo Proper, Toril, and Bucana.

Data from the Department of Health (DOH) shows that the cases of dengue in the Davao Region has almost double to 3,495 from January to July this year from 1,970 during the previous year.

Davao City has the highest dengue cases in the region with 1,630. This is followed by 701 cases in Compostela Valley, 562 cases in Davao Oriental, 464 in Davao del Norte, 114 in Davao del Sur and 24 in Davao Occidental.

DOH has previously reported 15 deaths due to dengue from January to July this year, with six of these from Davao City and four from Island Garden City of Samal (IGaCoS). IGaCoS has already declared the city under a state of calamity due to dengue outbreak. The IGaCoS CHO-Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit reported 249 dengue cases in the city from January to June this year.

Villafuerte said Dabawenyos should be vigilant against diseases like dengue with the onset of the rainy season. With more rains we can expect the breeding sites of these mosquitos to increase unless the community regularly cleans the surroundings.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) has declared June 14 as the start of the rainy season.

The rainy season is characterized by both water-borne diseases like typhoid fever, hepatitis A and leptospirosis, as well as vector-borne diseases like dengue.

Authorities have reported the overcrowding of patients at the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) due to the admission of patients with dengue-related symptoms.

The public is urged to go to the nearest health center if they experience some of the symptoms of dengue including severe headache, joint and muscle pains, skin rashes, nausea and vomiting. CIO