The plague of dengue is moving like a swarm of locust across areas of the Philippines.  Tacloban, in Eastern Leyte was hit hard.  Staggeringly hard.   The last report I saw indicated that the number of cases there was finally on the decline.  Though extremely high rates of infection, the number was finally moving down.  When I say extreme, that is no exaggeration.   The rate of increase for the first six months of the year was greater than 1000%.  That, is extreme!

So many Filipino with dengue have descended up on the public hospital in Cebu City that they have changed procedures. Those that need dengue test are in the fast lane.

Dengue in Cebu Province

Now, it seems to be Cebu’s turn. Though, we are talking an increase of less than 20%.  That’s a lot!  It seems like nothing though when I compare it to the 1000% in Tacloban.

Talisay City just outside of Cebu City seems to be fairly hit hard and is ready to spend nearly 10 million peso on the fight.  Cebu City itself is asking that patients go to hospital other than the city run hospital of Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC).  Where it is said that the hospital is already clogged with those being treated and tested for dengue.

Dengue Fast Lane

So many Filipino with dengue have descended up on the public hospital in Cebu City that they have changed procedures.  Those that need dengue test are in the fast lane.  Removing some of the extra steps in hopes of getting those people in and out of the system faster.  In the last 21 days there been 180 cases of dengue reported in Cebu City alone.  They are even calling it the Dengue Fast Lane, I’m sorry but I find that numerous.  Not the need to set it up, just the name.  Hop on board, the Dengue Express Train…..

A town near me has been hit hard.  I wish I could find per  capita numbers but all I can find are raw numbers.  That is, how many people and not what percent of the population.

Here are some numbers, Medellin is close to me.  Close to Bogo City but much smaller and they have nearly as many cases.  That’s alarming.  I hope we are not next.  I’m having enough problem right now.  I do not need dengue.

The top 10 local government units (LGUs) with dengue cases are:

Toledo City, 99
Talisay City, 89
Danao City, 88
Balamban, 86
Minglanilla, 61
Asturias, 53
Bogo City and Daanbantayan, 41
Liloan, 40
Argao, 38
Medellin, 37.

I’m also seeing fewer deaths reported across the Philippines.  I see report after report where there are fewer number of people dead as even though the number of cases are up.   The Philippines has known for sometime on how to treat this potential killer.  I don’t know if treatment has been more aggressive, better resources, or a less deadly form of the disease is the reason for the lower mortality rate.

Superstition, Herbs and Dengue

There is no vaccine for dengue.  Filipino have several herbal “cures” for dengue.  Sometimes these working, is pretty weak.  Like my auntie was sick for two week and then my family brought here these special leaves and the next day she was well enough to go home.

bug spray

Spraying for Mosquito

Perhaps, just perhaps the transfusion she got the day before also helped or maybe the illness finally ran its course.    I can’t say these things don’t work but nearly every time I tell a Filipino that I have an ailment they suggest bitter melon.

That bitter melon should be dried and shipped around the world, it cures everything!  I’m not going to say it doesn’t but I’m sceptical.

Just last night, Jessie took her youngest son to a quack doctor.  There are different kinds of those, some are black magic.  Some are dealers of herbs.    I’m not sure which one Jessie took Jermain too.  Probably one that deals in herb, I hope.  🙂  If not,  I don’t want to know.   I know I’ve slipped off on a tangent but these tangents are often the most informative part of an article.  So, I allow myself to do so.

Filipino are more superstitious than most from the West but you know what?  I’ve become superstitious since I’ve moved to the Philippines.  I’ve seen some things and some things that totally creep me out have been shared with me.  Even sending chills up my back as I write this.  I’m thinking of the slamming doors at my friends house and the “lady” dancing in the street at 4am one morning, in her long flowing white dress.  Or the bat with the humming bird head I saw and something I see moving in the walkway across from my home, late at night or early in the morning.  You know, at some point,  I’m going to have to acknowledge something is going on here!

With things like this though, its no wonder that Filipino turn to herbs and quack doctors to treat their ailments including the treatment of dengue.

It seems the Cebu Provincial Government is working on the problem by providing for increased spraying for mosquitoes.   Finally, that seems like something that might really help.   Often I see government officials scolding their constituents about keeping the area clean.

Things are often old or look old in the Philippines  Seeing a lot of clutter though, don’t see much of that.   I really don’t think clutter has a lot to do with dengue.   I also see global warming being blamed.  While I’m a believer in global warming, I think the effects are being used by people that need excuses or need to make some money.  So much of it is hype.  I’m not so sure its all hype with dengue.  I think there is some correlation and we may be seeing it in the Philippines already.

The major symptoms of dengue are something I live with every day.  However people often turned bright red.  This not always the case.  Here are some symptoms of dengue fever headache, fever, exhaustion, severe muscle and joint pain, swollen glands (lymphadenopathy), and rash.  Other signs of dengue fever include bleeding gums, severe pain behind the eyes, and red palms and soles.

I’ve talked with two expats that contracted dengue.  One barely knew he had it.  The other was very sick for months and talks of long lasting effects it has had on him.    If you have it, seek treatment.  Dengue can be a killer.

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Filed under: Filipino CultureLiving In The PhilippinesPhilippine Health

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