Health officials are hopeful the downward trend in the number of dengue cases will continue as it reported the data for the first half of 2017 is 30 percent lower compared to the same period last year.

From January to June 3, a total of 38,233 suspected dengue cases were recorded, down from 56,477 in the previous year, or a decrease of 32.3 percent.

Patients’ ages ranged from less than a month old to 98 years old.

Nearly a quarter of the cases - 21.4 percent - belonged to the 5 - 9 age group.

There were slightly more males affected compared to women, about 54 percent.

This according to the latest Epidemiology Bureau, the disease surveillance arm of Department of Health (DOH), in its report on dengue cases in the country.

Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral infection causing a severe flu-like illness. If let untreated, it could progress to severe dengue or the dengue haemorrhagic fever, leading to hospitalization and possibly death.

So far, 222 deaths were recorded. Unfortunately, the age group 5 - 9 has the highest Case Fatality Rate (CFR) with 0.86 percent, followed by 0.84 percent, then the 45 - 49 age group with 0.69 percent.

In terms of geographical distribution, Region VII (Central Visayas) has overtaken the areas where dengue prevalence has always been high. It accounted for 15.1 percent of the cases, followed by Region III (Central Luzon), National Capital Region (NCR) with 12.3 percent, Region XII (Soccsksargen) with 11.4 percent, then Calabarzon with 11.3 percent.

The aedes aegypti mosquito is the main vector in which humans become infected. As such, the DOH is focusing on preventing its spread by eliminating breeding grounds and other possible source like containers having stagnant water.

Measures include covering water drums and pails at all times, replacement and cleaning of water containers at least once a week, disposal of unusable tin cans, jars and bottles and all other types of container.

The department also encouraged making the 4S - the primary preventive measure against mosquito-carrying diseases - a habit. The 4S includes Search and Destroy breeding grounds, use of Self-protection measures, Seeking early consultation, and Saying no to indiscriminate fogging. MIMS

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