‘ACT BEFORE THEY BITE’
Dr. Briones pushes larvicide to prevent dengue
Mosquito control in communities should target the insects before they mature and infect people.
Dr. Wyben Briones, chairman of the Anti-Dengue Task Force in Cebu, said this is why larvicide is very effective in preventing dengue.
A packet of Temephos granules dropped in a puddle of water kills mosquito wrigglers beore they grow to biting adults.
The stagnant water in roof gutters, spare tires, flower pots and discarded containers are common habitats, often overlooked by residents.
The Anti-Dengue Task Force, made up of the Rotary Club Metro Cebu and Rotary Club of Cebu West, is the lead private sector group responding to the dengue menace by promoting larviciding as the best pest control method recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO).
In the life cycle of a mosquito , the larva stage — when they hatch from eggs –”is vulnerable.”
“When they become adults then danger is always there,” Dr. Briones told Cebu Daily News.
“The use of larvicides is safe and has been recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). This method has been used by other countries,” said Briones, a neurosurgeon.
Every quarter the Rotary Clubs raise half a million pesos to purchase 1,000 kilograms of larvicide to distribute to 2,300 public schools in Central Visayas through the Department of Education (DepEd-7).
“We observed a decrease in the number of dengue victims in 2012 and 2013 and this trend was sustained. From hundreds of cases, now it’s 10 to 20 victims in an area,” said Briones,referring to school reports.
INCREASE IN CASES
The campaign is all the more needed now after the Department of Health in Central Visayas confirmed a 25.4 percent increase in dengue cases in January 1 to Sept. 26 this year in the region, compared to the same period last year.
Cebu City has the largest number of cases , 892 dengue cases with 11 deaths, said City Health Officer Dr. Daisy Villa.
Its population and density as an urban center largely explains the number, but a high number of dengue cases are being reported in other cities of Lapu-Lapu with the second highest at 212 cases and Mandaue city with 134 cases, and various towns.
While the DOH urges communities to do clean-up campaigns, some public schools have resorted to putting up window screens and insecticide-impregnated curtains, like the Pasil Elementary School where two pupils, both sisters aged x and x, died of dengue in October.
The DOH limits the use of fogging to severe cases that require eliminating adult mosquitos. This method exposes people to strong chemicals in the air.
Most dengue victims are children aged 6 to 10 years old, reported DOH, mainly because the immunity systems of kids are not fully developed.
The classic techniques recommended by DOH-7 still apply, said Dr. Briones.
Search and destroy mosquito habitats, keep surroundings clearn, wear long-sleeved shirts and protective clothing, use anti-mosquito repellents.
EASY TO APPLY
The Rotary Club-based task force does not promote any particular brand or sell the larvicides.
Temephos, the generic name of the chemical compound, is an organophosphate larvicide used to treat water infested with diseas-e carrying insectors. It is widely used in developing countries for pest control in areas of standing water where the Aedes aegypti mosquito breeds.
“It is easy to apply and we can prevent millions of mosquitoes from flying,” Dr. Briones said.
“We have been using this for the last five years and have not received any reports of adverse effects because we take precautions in the application. We make sure that these are applied by responsible and trained adults.”
Temephos, available in a P6.15 sachet, is effective for three months.
One gram of Temephos granules is needed for every square meter area.
Briones said one drop of temephos is good for one square meter of surface water.
This is applied in stagnant water, not running water sources like canals, creeks, fish ponds and areas where there are mangroves.
“During the larva stage, you can see the mosquitoes swimming, you can see they are alive. Your method is effective when the larva is dead. It is very visual and you can evaluate the results of what you are doing by what you see,” Dr. Briones said.
The Cebu City Health Department is focusing on adult mosquitoes.
Yesterday, the CHD briefed City Hall department heads and planned their next move for the dengue campaign in the city.
They will do misting and curtain-impregnation in target barangays which have fatalities.
Dr. Daisy Villa said larviciding is one of many methods to combat dengue-carrying mosquitoes.
“What we are really after are adult mosquito that continue to bite,” she said.
In barangay Tisa, they conduct curtain impregnation — applying insecticide on curtains – every Monday and Friday.
Tisa barangay health center nurse Merlin Ramones said they visit sitios for the activity, and teach residents about dengue and how to prevent it.
For the curtain treatment, they use funds from their barangay and the city government.
Dr. Villa clarified that the City Health Office recorded only one dengue case in October, not 24 cases as she stated earlier. She said the 24 dengue cases occurred in Septemer.
“I previously mentioned in an interview that there were 24 dengue cases in October but I re-read the data submitted from other hospitals like Cebu Doctors Hospital since we received their hospital cases late,” Villa said.
She said the lone dengue victim was a disabled person in barangay Lahug.
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