How We Can Be a Wall Against Dengue

I have relatives and friends who suffered from dengue and were hospitalized. I can only imagine how scary and traumatic it was for their loved ones. It is something I pray will never happen to me and my family. To be honest, I'm still not that familiar with the symptoms and effects of this disease. As a parent, I know it is my responsibility to educate myself and take necessary preventive measures to protect us. Recently, I agreed to take part in an advocacy to raise awareness against the disease because dengue cases in the Philippines continue to rise in recent years. As one of the moms against dengue, I will share as much information as I can so all of us can be a wall against dengue.

So, ano nga ba ang dengue?

Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral disease that has rapidly spread in all regions of WHO in recent years. Dengue virus is transmitted by female mosquitoes, mainly of the species Aedes aegypti.
  • Aedes aegypti mosquito also transmits chikungunya, yellow fever, and Zika infection.
  • There are 4 distinct serotypes of the virus
  • Dengue is widespread throughout the tropics, with local variations in risk influenced by rainfall, temperature and unplanned rapid urbanization.
  • Severe dengue (Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever) was first recognized in the 1950s during dengue epidemics in the Philippines and Thailand. 
    • Affects most Asian and Latin American countries and has become a leading cause of hospitalization and death among children and adults in these regions.
  • Year 2015 was characterized by large dengue outbreaks worldwide, and Philippines reported more than 169,000 cases of dengue, representing a 59.5% increase in case numbers to the previous year.

Last November 4, in Glorietta, the #WallAgainstDengue was launched to increase awareness and education about the killer virus and how the public can help to prevent the spread of this disease, which sadly is endemic to our country. The world's first dengue vaccine from Sanofi, Dengvaxia, was also introduced during the event. Celebrity parents like Paolo and Suzi Abrera, Christine Jacob-Sandejas, and Maricel Laxa-Pangilinan were in attendance, as well as advocates from social media, to share their personal experiences with the dengue virus during the program.

While the topic is very serious, the program held in Glorietta was quite entertaining and educational, and proved to be an effective way to deliver our message to the public.

Here, Paolo and Suzi joined the "family feud" game portion where participants from the audience guessed the dengue symptoms to watch out for. See who won this round. =)

We also learned about dengue control and prevention:
  • Be more vigilant during dawn to late afternoon, when mosquitoes that carry dengue viruses are active. They also bite at night.
  • Apply insect/mosquito repellent
  • Wear protective clothing when traveling to mosquito-infested areas
  • Manage and practice proper waste disposal at home
    • Remove mosquito-breeding habitat like spaces and containers with stagnant water
  • Clean, fumigate and apply appropriate insecticides to immediate surroundings
  • Install window screens, mosquito traps or bug zappers
  • Ask your doctors about how to protect your loved ones with dengue vaccination

Being a part of this campaign was truly an eye-opener for me, kasi I never took this disease seriously. News lang sa akin ito dati and I felt indifferent. After the event, it became so real to me especially when my friends Michelle Aventajado and Janice Villanueva recounted how debilitating the disease was to their spouses who suffered from it, and how they felt helpless during those difficult times. I am now trying to be more proactive as I participate in this advocacy to stop the spread of dengue. Join us! Be informed. Take action. Be A #WallAgainstDengue.

Follow Facebook.com/WallAgainstDenguePH for updates.
With fellow advocates, from left: Michelle Aventajado, (me), Paolo and Suzi Abrera, Janice Villanueva, Tina Ong

Read more info on dengue virus, immunization and prevention here: www.who.int

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