'Be proactive vs dengue'

MANILA, Philippines - As dengue cases start to rise next month, the Department of Health (DOH) urged school officials and community leaders to resume the “4 o’clock habit” – a campaign that urges everyone to clean up and rid their surroundings of possible breeding areas for mosquitoes at 4 p.m. every day.

DOH spokesman Eric Tayag said the public should not wait for the peak season to start before carrying out anti-dengue activities.

“Although dengue is a year-round disease, its peak season is from July to October.  We appeal to the public to start their 4 o’clock habit now,” he told reporters.

He urged community and school leaders to lead the efforts.

Tayag said mosquitoes could thrive in almost anything where water could build up, including bottle crowns, bottom of refrigerators and air-conditioning units and plants with big leaves or flowers.

“The breeding sites are all around us. You don’t have to look too far.  Even our water containers could hold mosquitoes.  Let us not wait for the peak season to act,” he noted.

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Clean up activities, he added, should be scaled up in schools because the dengue-causing mosquito Aedes aegypti bite during the day or when children are usually in school.

He maintained that the DOH does not want a repeat of the dengue situation in 2016 when 220,518 cases were documented, including 1,092 deaths.