This year has seen a noticeable mount of dengue cases in the country. According to the Department of Health‟s Dengue Surveillance Report, 95,142 victims have been affected by the mosquito-born disease in the first nine months of 2012 alone. A significant 12.94% increase from last year‟s same period, this turnaround left even school administration to be more vigilant and take extra preventive measures against the dreaded disease.

The widespread transmission of dengue 

The hasty transmission of the resilient virus has led school administrators, particularly the Lourdes School of Mandaluyong (LSM), to ascertain that the mosquito vector‟s highly adaptable quality is partly to blame. “These mosquitoes can easily adapt to changes in the environment, find new places to breed and even effortlessly adjust to human settlements. Previous efforts like defogging would only temporarily drive mosquitoes away, and they would be here again to look for a new prey,” shares Ana Eva Bolinao, School Principal of LSM. Bolinao also reveals that the school has recorded 20 cases of dengue out of its total population of about 1,200 high school and grade school students.

During the Green Cross School Crashers, the students learn the Day and Night Dengue Lamok defense, a stance similar to a karate block which shows how little kids block off deadly dengue lamok from coming near them.

The widespread resurgence of dengue may also be attributed to the latest discovery of experts of another mosquito vector stalking the city. Historically, dengue infection in the country had been attributed to the mosquito species Aedes aegypti, whose attack is far more common during the day. Entomologists have recently reported the presence of Aedes albopictus, a once confined species to forested areas, now in cities where people live. A secondary vector of the dengue virus, Ae. albopictus is as lethal as the Ae. aegypti and was found to be an active biter at late afternoon and even at night.

Preventive measures against dengue 

Dr. Raymond Manuel, Pediatrician and School Physician of LSM shares that cleaning campaigns like defogging has been carried out in school premises usually after classes to destroy possible mosquito breeding grounds. However the school physician discloses that apart from mosquito larva killing and eliminating pools of stagnant water, the most effective dengue preventive measure are awareness campaigns. “Though we have adequate knowledge related to the disease „dengue,‟ others do not have sufficient knowledge about the virus. And while we have a number of preventive practices against the disease like defogging, its effectiveness against dengue will be very minimal if the victims themselves aren‟t well-informed of the dengue-carrying mosquitoes,” stresses Dr. Manuel. School-aged children, especially those below 10 years old, appeared to be more susceptible to dengue virus.

All students will not go home empty handed. Aside from learning about the harmful day and night dengue lamok, they also get to take home educational brochures with fun activities inside for them to answer and share with family members.

These kids have fewer antibodies that are considered necessary to protect themselves against infections and illnesses, dengue included.

The school has already incorporated dengue information dissemination campaign in classroom discussions during the students‟ science subject. This not only creates an opportunity for teachers to lead the class about the dangers of the disease, it all the more builds the students’ knowledge from symptoms to preventive measures.

The Green Cross School Crashers 

Very timely is the Green Cross School Crashers campaign which was recently launched at LSM and at several Metro Manila schools. As Green Cross sees the vital importance of awareness campaigns, it embarks a Day and Night Dengue Defense drive to acquaint young students and parents alike on facts about dengue. Through the Green Cross School Crashers, students get to understand the disease, its symptoms, and defensive measures in a fun and interactive way.

During the Green Cross School Crashers activity, grade school students meet Ms. Green, a Green Cross Insect Repellent Ambassador, and two costumed character mascots, Daytime Dengue Lamok (Ae. aegypti) and Nighttime Dengue Lamok (Ae. albopictus). The lessons are taught through interactive storytelling where kids learn all about dengue prevention and the dangers of dengue.

Children do not only learn about the harmful day and night dengue lamok but also get to take home educational brochures they may share with family members. Aside from useful tips to keep their homes and community from becoming the breeding sites of dengue lamok, the leaflet has fun activities inside and even a survey form kids can answer and get a chance to take home a limited edition school supply kit.

Grade school students meet the two naughty school crashers they need to avoid -Daytime Dengue Lamok (Ae. Aegypti) and Nighttime Dengue Lamok (Ae. Albopictus, and learn the deadly virus they carry with them.

The best line of defense 

Though there are a number of initiatives to prevent breeding sites and protect oneself from dengue, the best line of defense is still personal protection. The use of insect repellents is highly advisable especially to protect those exposed skin one can not cover up with long-sleeved tops or pants. And the only proven protection against day and night dengue lamok is the new Green Cross Insect Repellent Lotion. It protects you from harmful mosquitoes for up to 10 hours. It also has an antibacterial formulation proven to kill up to 99.9% of disease-causing germs, a benefit which Green Cross brand has always been known for. Green Cross Insect Repellent Lotion is especially formulated to give complete protection from dengue mosquito bites, offering up to 10 hours protection per application.

There are a number of effective, eco-friendly and sustainable strategies to combat dengue. Both the local government and school administration are sharing collaborative efforts in stopping the spread of this dreaded disease. Awareness campaigns are of vital importance and the Green Cross School Crashers is a welcome effort to control the spread of dengue virus. Several schools have joined and discovered this innovative way to defend oneself against dengue. Enlist your school in the Green Cross School Crashers. For more information, visit call the Green Cross School Crashers hotline at 0917 976 5980.

Source: Department of Health Disease Surveillance Report Morbidity Week 35, Aug. 26 – Sept 1, 2012


DOH:  cases of dengue-like mosquito-borne disease now rising

Little did we know that aside from dengue, there are many other life-threatening mosquito-borne diseases that have hounded Filipinos for decades.  Though there is no vaccine available in the country to cure these illnesses, preventive measures are available to assure safety of adults and children alike.

Last October, the Department of Health (DOH) warned the public to take extra precautions against the chikungunya virus.  The DOH confirmed that there were 150 recorded cases of this dengue-like disease last month.  And last year, more than 1,000 cases of chikungunya were recorded in the country.

The origin

Chikungunya is a mosquito-borne virus first reported in Africa in 1952 and has spread in Asia, the Indian subcontinent, Europe and United States, infecting millions. Believed to be derived from an East African dialect that means “to be contorted,” chikungunya describes the curved posture of patients experiencing severe joint pain.

Just like dengue, chikungunya virus was caused primarily by Aedes aegypti, the daytime biting mosquito and by Aedes albopictus, a species of mosquito that bites most actively at night.

The warning signs

Chikungunya shares some clinical signs with dengue as both manifest skin rashes and a high fever.  Its most distinctive characteristic though is severe joint pain which usually ends within a few days or weeks. Although a number of patients fully recover after a few days or weeks, there are some cases that joint pain or arthritis may persist for several months, or even years. Another distinct factor between dengue and chikungunya is that the former affects mostly children, while the later affects adults.

The transmission

DOH expressed fear that the virus might spread more widely because it survives in temperate climates, the Philippines included.    Increases in global travel and climate change might have encouraged its spread.

Though no vaccine or specific treatment for the disease has been discovered yet and treatment is focused on relieving the symptoms only, there are preventive measures against the virus.

Level-up protection

Prevention and control rely heavily on getting rid of the natural and artificial water-filled breeding grounds of the mosquitoes.  Unattended bottles, cans and tires with water inside are the usual breeding grounds for mosquitoes, and if left unchecked, a single pool of water can produce hundreds of chikungunya virus-carrying mosquitoes.

Though clothing which minimizes skin exposure to these vectors is advisable; it is more prudent to use insect repellent lotions that can be applied anytime. And the most ideal insect repellent lotion is one that is effective not only against daytime-biting mosquitoes, but also mosquitoes that bite at night.

The new Green Cross Insect Repellent Lotion is proven effective against both day and night mosquitoes, known carriers of both the dengue and chikungunya virus. It is ideal for families because it has long-lasting protection of up to10 hours, is hypoallergenic, and provides anti-bacterial protection that the Green Cross brand has always been known for.

The breakthrough discovery on day and night dengue-lamok teaches us to level up our anti-dengue measures. Now, with an additional threat on the move – chikungunya virus – this further teaches us to act on an urgent threat:  we need to change our mindsets and recognize the fact that insect repellent lotion may effectively protect us against these disease-carrying mosquitoes.

A single mosquito bite may be deadly.  Do not let these pesky bugs come near you or your loved ones.  Use Green Cross Insect Repellent Lotion as it may not only save your body from big red marks but also from serious illnesses like the chikungunya virus.