I’m not sure if there is such a word as “denguephobic” but if there is not there should be. I’m sure that most of you know what I mean when I use the “word” – I have a fear of dengue.
Dengue Fever is a tropical disease that is caused by mosquito bites. It takes a bite from a certain kind of mosquito, and those mosquitoes only bite during the day, so at night you should be safe. There are four different strains of “regular dengue” fever, and there is another very serious dengue called hemorrhagic dengue, which is the most deadly. If you get hemorrhagic dengue, it is very likely that you will die, and not a pretty death. The other four strains of dengue are not as serious, although there is still about a 20% chance of death if you don’t get the proper treatment.
Last year, many of you will remember, I got dengue. While I don’t know for sure, I suspect that I contracted dengue when I went for a trip to Dinagat Island, which is north of Surigao, not far from Samar. I suspect that is where I contracted the disease, because when I got home, I was symptomatic within about 2 days or so. Dengue really threw me for a loop, and I was still feeling sick even 4 or 5 months down the road. I was very sick, almost bed ridden for about 2 months or so. It was quite an ordeal, one that I was happy to put behind me.
Since that time, I am quite fearful of mosquitoes now. I didn’t used to be bothered by mosquitoes, but when I saw that they could put me down for a long, long time, I must admit that I became fearful of them, and still am. I must say, mosquitoes don’t usually bother me, as far as biting me, but it only takes one.
I bring this subject up today, because the Davao Region is having an epidemic of dengue recently. Digos City, and that general area (about an hour South of Davao City) has been hit very hard in particular. At last count that I read, about 30 young people have died in the Digos area in recent weeks from dengue. I read a newspaper report a few weeks ago that Davao Region is the dengue capitol of the Philippines right now. Based on the numbers I have seen, I believe it too. I’m not sure why Davao has been so affected, I guess it’s just one of those random things that happens, and we got hit with it this year. I do know, though, that there is a lot of activity to try to alleviate the problem.
Last night, I was watching the local Davao TV newscast. They were having a remote report from Maa Elementary school here in the City, and reporting how a lot of students were missing school due to having dengue fever. They said that because of the outbreak, it was decided to put screens on the windows at the school. I felt pretty happy, because the windows in the public schools are usually open completely, or partially, leaving it wide open for mosquitoes to enter the classroom. My happiness, though, faded quickly when they showed the screens that had been installed. They were wire screens that had holes about 1/2 wide in them. It was wire mesh with large openings! That won’t stop the mosquitoes. What were they thinking when they chose this stuff to protect the kids? Oh well…
By the way, speaking of dengue, I saw a Reuters news article the other day telling how dengue has struck about 1,000 people in Key West Florida. Apparently, it’s been about 75 years since dengue was eradicated in the United States, but now it’s starting to creep it’s way back in, and the fear is that it could spread to other cities in the USA where mosquitoes are common. I wonder, how will Americans deal with dengue? I know that this American sure didn’t care for it!