The year’s total of dengue cases in the Philippines so far this middle of August 2010 is a significantly larger number than it was for the same period of last year. In GMA7’s 24 Oras August 19 report, there has already been more than 48,000 reported cases to date, a number which is 65% higher than the number of recorded cases from January to August 2009.
The sharp increase in dengue cases is attributed to frequent intermittent rain says the Department of Health, and this creates more places for mosquitoes to lay eggs and grow. Almost anything with a shape that will hold and maintain a small amount of stagnant water, if rained upon, will suit mosquito eggs just fine until they turn into squirmy larvae or kiti-kiti that mature to become mosquitoes that bring dengue to nearby communities.
Note that Inquirer.net’s report on dengue dated August 16, 2010 says the number of reported cases for this year’s first 7 months is 48% higher than last year’s first 7 months, so if both reports are correct, then the 17% rise in barely three weeks is quite alarming and should be immediately addressed.
Health officials should bear in mind that the largest pools of stagnated water where mosquitoes breed and rapidly multiply are the esteros and various canals interconnected as tributaries that drain into the Pasig River. Garbage and pollutants contribute to the hindered flow of waste water along these tributaries, making them more suitable mosquito nurseries. This is one of the more obvious way periods of La Nina or the typhoon months spread disease; the wet season and even storms the scale of Ondoy always give too many options for mosquitoes for places to reproduce, considering that these same places are almost always poorly managed and filled with trash and rubbish indiscriminately thrown away.
The DOH should consider working with other sectors and departments undertaking the cleanup of the esteros and in the process help them fast-track the rehabilitation of Pasig River as well. Reports of dengue should show a significant decline once this is undertaken, though in order to achieve and realistically maintain a level of cleanliness and freedom from mosquito-borne illness within communities, all tributaries headed for Pasig River ought to be made completely unsuitable for mosquito breeding, and that may involve not just the removal of informal settlers that are said to add to the rubbish along the canals but the businesses with waste-producing commercial and industrial activities that pollute the river as well.