Health authorities said that cold day diseases such as influenza-like illnesses and severe acute respiratory illnesses (SARI) in the Cordillera are on the rise with the onset of the cold season triggered by the prevalence of the northeast monsoon.
Nurse Kristine Gale S. Raguindin, the Emerging and Reemerging Diseases Coordinator, disclosed that influenza-like illnesses in the region increased by 75 percent while SARI cases were up by 92 percent last year compared to the similar cases that were reported during the previous year.
From the 4,023 flu-like illnesses that were reported in the whole region in 2022, it drastically increased to 7,021 last year while from 762 SARI cases in 2022, it also increased to 1,465 cases last year.
Benguet recorded the highest number of influenza-like illnesses last year with 2,850 followed by Baguio City with 1,687, Kalinga – 1,048, Ifugao – 621, Apayao – 388, Abra – 278 and Mountain Province – 149. Only Abra and Mountain Province recorded decreases in flu-like cases last year while the rest of the local governments reported increases in said cases.
On the other hand, Baguio registered the highest number of SARI cases with 848 followed by Benguet with 294, Kalinga – 201, Mountain Province – 93, Ifugao – 20, Apayao – 6 and Abra – 3. Only Abra reported a decrease in SARI cases while the rest of the local governments registered increases in their SARI cases.
Raguindin explained that influenza-like illness is characterized by fever, cough and sore throat while SARI also has the same symptoms including hospitalization that could cause one’s untimely demise.
She added that among the actions taken by the health department to contain the surge in the number of flu-like and SARI cases include continuous surveillance and close monitoring of areas with clustering as reported by the agency; allocation of logistics to provincial and city governments, including requesting health facilities; inoculation of flu and pneumonia vaccination for the eligible population and continues conduct of information and education campaign in coordination with the concerned government agencies.
Raguindin stipulated that as part of the ways forward, the health department will continue to allocate logistics for preparedness complimented by continuous advocacy campaigns in partnership with various local government units aside from strengthening local government capacities on disease management and response using updated interventions. By Dexter A. See