The number of people who have contracted the disease in the regions since January has already exceeded 5000, with at least 65 deaths. The number of cases in Tacloban City, which now stands at 1194, has already reached "epidemic proportions, said city health officer Dr. Jaime Opinion.

Records at the regional office of the DOH show that from January to 28 Jul this year [2010], 5090 people across Eastern Visayas contracted dengue, more than 1/4 of them in Tacloban City. The number is the highest ever since the DOH started its monitoring in 1998, according to DOH Region 8 sentinel nurse Boyd Cerro. During the same period last year [2009], the region had only 1279 cases with 12 deaths.

By cleaning the surroundings, particularly those considered to be breeding grounds of dengue-causing mosquitoes, the number of cases will decline, said Cerro. "The campaign should be done every week to ensure that even the kiti-kiti (larvae) would die and not just the mosquitoes," he added.

Cerro said that all the provinces and cities in the region now have confirmed dengue fever cases. Cerro also revealed that practically all the hospitals in the region, both public and private, have patients suffering from dengue.