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The mosquito-borne disease continues to wreak havoc in the province, claiming at least eight lives of children just this month, the Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Unit (RESU) 7 revealed late last week.

The latest fatalities were a six-year-old girl from barangay Jubay, in Liloan town and a 14-year-old boy from Carmen town. The two expired midweek last week inside the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC), a RESU 7 personnel said. There were at least 270 patients brought to the VSMMC during a one-week period from September 1. Five of them died. These patients, whose ages range from nine months old to 35 years old are from the different parts of Cebu, including Cebu City.

In Mandaue City, Dr. Debbie Catulong said three kids died of dengue recently, including a seven-year-old girl from barangay Pagsabungan, a three-year-old boy, and a one-year-old girl in barangay Paknaan.

DoH 7 Director Susana Madarieta said from January to September of this year, the region has recorded 5,571 dengue cases or 1,229 cases more compared to the same period of last year.

Cebu City remains the top area with most dengue cases at 1,282 and nine fatalities. Tagbilaran City in Bohol followed with 363 cases and three fatalities and Lapu-Lapu City with 220 cases. Toledo City has 196 cases with no deaths.

The rapidly increasing number of dengue cases has alarmed Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, prompting him to issue the oratio imperata, a special prayer to fight the dreaded disease. Vidal said the oratio imperata on dengue will be prayed in all masses that will be celebrated within the archdiocese of Cebu. The Cardinal said that he is taking the move since he is already alarmed by the increasing number of cases. The church also had similar prayers during the threat of the avian flu last year.

With the number of dengue cases in Cebu and the rest of Central Visayas rapidly increasing, local government officials and the DoH 7 are stepping up its measures against the mosquito-borne dengue disease here.

The cities of Cebu and Talisay have earmarked P10 million and P9.5 million of their calamity funds respectively while the Province of Cebu has formed a group that will conduct misting operations in every town.

Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC) has been jampacked with dengue patients being brought in almost daily, prompting Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama to ask those from outside the city to go to other hospitals so as not to drain the city’s resources.