ILOILO – With dengue cases dropping,Gov. Arthur Defensor Jr. plans to lift the dengue outbreak declaration he madein July last year. “There is an epidemic threshold andalert threshold. By the 49th morbidity week, we were already below the alertlevel,” said Trabado. The number of cases was now below the“alert threshold”, said Provincial Health Office’s (PHO) Dr. Patricia GraceTrabado. Dengue is a mosquito-borne viralinfection causing a severe flu-like illness that could sometimes be fatal. Itscarriers are day-biting mosquitoes (Aedesalbpictus and Aedes aegypti) thatlive and breed and clean, stagnant water. Data from the provincial government’sHospital Management Office showed nine dengue patients remaining in districthospitals and there were no more new dengue hospital admissions. On the other hand, the five areas withthe least number of cases were San Joaquin (122 cases with one death), Tubungan(150 cases with one death), San Rafael (152 cases), Guimbal (167 cases with onedeath), and Batad (185 cases). These 24 LGUs were Cabatuan, PassiCity, Maasin, Sara, Ajuy, Leon, Janiuay, San Dionisio, Banate, Concepcion,Leganes, Tigbauan, Miag-ao, Dueñas, Igbaras, New Lucena, Mina, Zarraga,Bingawan, Barotac Viejo, San Enrique, Lemery, San Rafael, and Tubungan. Last year from Jan. 1 to Dec. 14 PHOrecorded 22,040 dengue cases with 78 deaths. This was 882 percent higher than2018’s PHO-recorded 2,244 cases with six deaths and 2017’s 1,321 cases witheight deaths. The surge in dengue cases last yearresulted to hospitals bursting at the seams with patients. There was a shortagein hospital rooms, beds, doctors, and nurses. The demand for blood (for bloodtransfusion to dengue patients) also spiked. Five areas with the most number ofcases were Pototan (1,464 cases with 12 deaths), Calinog (955 cases with threedeaths), Dumangas (954 cases with two deaths), Cabatuan (927 cases with fivedeaths), and Passi City (896 cases with one death). She said the “4S” campaign must besustained – search and destroy mosquito breeding places; self-protectionmeasures; seek early consultation for fever lasting more than two days; and say“no” to indiscriminate fogging./PN But despite the steep drop in denguecases, Trabado urged Ilonggos not to let their guard down because dengue hasbecome a year-round illness. By the 50th morbidity week (Dec. 8 to 14,2019), PHO recorded 36 cases and 24 of Iloilo’s 43 local government units(LGUs) recorded no new cases.