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Davao City, Philippines

No dengue outbreak but Davaoeños told to be careful

August 13, 2019 - Tuesday 11:08 AM by Funny Pearl A. Gajunera

Article Banner Image FIGHTING DENGUE. A city worker conducts an Indoor Residual Spray (IRS) in this file photo taken in Purok 1, Mahayag, Barangay Bunawan, Davao City. The Department of Health (DOH) says activities like this should only be done in hotspot areas. Story on Page 2. ARJOY M. CENIZA


“Even though we don’t need to declare a dengue outbreak, we should not lower our guards and be relaxed. We should still observe the 4 o’clock habit to maintain this.” -- City Health Office head Dr. Josephine Villafuerte

DAVAO CITY -- The City Health Office (CHO) urged residents not to be complacent about dengue even as it said there is no need to declare a dengue outbreak here since the number of cases has not reached an alarming level.

CHO head Dr. Josephine Villafuerte said the fact that there is no dengue outbreak here should motivate everyone to maintain the cleanliness of their surroundings and to observe the 4 o’clock habit.

“Even though we don’t need to declare a dengue outbreak, we should not lower our guards and be relaxed. We should still observe the 4 o’clock habit to maintain this,” she said.

According to the Department of Health (DOH), the “4-o’clock habit” is a strategy “that seeks to raise awareness and encourage the community to do its share and take time to weed out dengue breeding sites at 4 p.m. every day.”

“It has been known that mosquitos carrying the disease are most active at dusk around this time and religiously exercising this intervention is key to reducing the risk of dengue,” the DOH said.

Villafuerte explained that the only way to get away from dengue outbreak is to ensure that the dengue carrying mosquitoes will have no place to breed.

“This is not just the concern of the CHO, dengue is a concern of everybody because the only way to prevent it is to clean our surroundings,” Villafuerte said.

Department of Health (DOH) Assistant Secretary Abdullah Dumama said Davao Region is not included in the epidemic threshold of dengue cases.

Dumama, however, said the dengue cases have not yet reached its peak, which is why the DOH is doing its best to prevent dengue cases from increasing.

“Seven regions in the entire country have declared dengue epidemic cases. I’ve been in the DOH for so long and this is the first time that it happened, so we better take a move to stop this,” he said.

Dumama said that for now, the most practical and effective way to prevent dengue is the search and destroy approach.

“We should start in our own houses, look for possible breeding ground and destroy it. We should act together as one, everyone should be involved in this,” he said.

The 4 o’clock habit is a routine cleaning of the surroundings every 4 o’clock in the afternoon.

The campaign was launched by the DOH in an attempt to maintain the cleanliness of the surroundings and to destroy the breeding grounds of dengue carrying mosquitoes.

Dumama said that the mosquitoes are mostly active around this time that is why the best time to search and destroy their breeding grounds is at 4 p.m.

In Davao City over the weekend, Senator Christopher Lawrence Go said the public should follow the advice of health care professionals.

“Sa karon, wala man gyud tay tambal anang dengue, lisod gyud kaayo. So karon atong sundon ang payo sa atuang doctor,” he said.

(For now there is still no cure for dengue so it’s really difficult. Let’s follow the advice of our doctors.)

He also said the people should follow the advice of the DOH on early detection. 

“Pa-check-up dayon mo, fogging nato, protection sa atong lawas ug pagsunod sa 4-S,” Go said.

(Have a check-up immediately, do fogging [against mosquitoes], protect our bodies, and follow the 4-S.)

The 4S refers to the DOH strategy to prevent dengue:

  • Search and destroy mosquito-breeding sites,

  • employ Self-protection measures (i.e. wearing long pants and long sleeved shirts, and daily use of mosquito repellent),

  • Seek early consultation, and

  • Support fogging/spraying only in hotspot areas where increase in cases is registered for two consecutive weeks to prevent an impending outbreak.