Healthmenís verdict: No dengue outbreak in Pangasinan
By Danny O. Sagun
Pangasinan (18 October) -- Itís final. There was no outbreak of dengue this year in Pangasinan.
The consensus came during a recent consultation meeting and refresher course on epidemiology and disease surveillance where health authorities sought to reconcile differing views on the health situation in the province particularly on dengue.
It will be recalled that the provincial health team under Dr. Calugay believed there was already a dengue outbreak this year based on the number of cases from January to July. The provincial health office (PHO) under the governorís office however contradicted Calugayís interpretation of the statistics noting that the cases were sporadic. Calugayís own colleagues in the health regional office also differed with his stand.
The various health offices thus held that consultative meeting last Sept. 13 & 14 to come up with a definite position on the matter.
In consideration of the definition for dengue by the World Health Organization and between clinically-confirmed and laboratory-confirmed cases, the health authorities determined that there was no dengue outbreak or epidemic in Pangasinan according to Dr. Ana de Guzman, assistant provincial health officer.
The various health offices thus vowed to work closely and use a mechanism for efficient data management to avoid any conflict in the future, she told Tuesday the Pantongtongan Tayo radio program of the Philippine Information Agency over Radyo ng Bayan-DZMQ.
As of September 30, dengue cases reached 1,775 with 23 deaths in the province.
Meanwhile, De Guzman bared that health agencies would only resort to fogging operations in case of outbreak. She noted that fogging only kills the adult mosquitoes, while the eggs and larvae remain and to become adult mosquitoes after a few days.
The more effective means to combat the disease is maintaining cleanliness and sanitation in homes and neighborhood. Old tires, cans, bottles, gutter, water deposits and flower vases which are possible breeding places be thoroughly checked and disposed of properly, she said.
On another health front, De Guzman also urged the public to begin using hyposol, a water treatment sodium hypochloride solution, to prevent gastroenteritis that includes diarrhea and cholera.
Hyposol was successfully pilot-tested in cholera-stricken areas in Malasiqui, and Bayambang and other neighboring areas in 2004. The 100 ml solution costs only P25 and can already treat up to 28 containers (five gallons each) of water from unsafe sources like shallow wells.
The safe water system (SWS) in the households is a more handy and very affordable option to have safe drinking water and prevent water-borne diseases because the piped (chlorinated) system is a long term solution that needs so much funds, she said. (PIA-Pangasinan) [top]