Health officials in General Santos City in the southern major island of Mindanao, Philippines have raised the dengue alert after reporting a significant increase in cases so far in 2016 compared to the same period last year.

Aedes aegypti/CDC
Aedes aegypti/CDC

According to the the City Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (CESU) of the City Health Office (CHO), since January, 389 suspected dengue cases have been reported.

This is 159% higher than the 150 cases recorded for the year 2015. City Disease Surveillance Officer, Dr. Mely Lastimoso said, “There were 389 Dengue cases reported to CESU from January 1 to June 11, 2016 and 53% of these numbers or a total of 168 infected patients are children ages 1-10 years old.”

In addition, Lastimoso said three deaths have also been reported this year from Barangay City Heights, Barangay Conel and Barangay Fatima compared to the zero casualty last year.

“We should not be complacent but rather we should help each other in cleaning our barangays especially that dengue is a year-round problem. We have just experienced El Nino, and we know that mosquitoes thrive in warm weather; and now rainy season is here, we should get rid of stagnant, clear waters in our areas as these are the best breeding places for mosquitoes,” said Francisco Cavan, Sr., Barangay Kagawad of Labangal.