Sen. Grace Poe called on the Department of Health (DOH) to harness the power of social media, and even the far-reaching broadcast media, to beef up the information campaign on dengue, which is becoming a national menace.

Poe noted that the cases of dengue have increased to over 78,800 in only the first nine months of the year, or 16 percent higher than the 67,637 cases reported in the same period last year.

“This is alarming. We cannot just accept this as another statistic. We have to ask our health officials why it has come to this. What is it about 2015 that have left us unable to curb dengue cases?” the senator asked.

According to the DOH, dengue has claimed the lives of 233 persons this year.

Poe pointed out that while all means to effectively respond to a dengue outbreak are in place, public health facilities are now overwhelmed by the number of cases they are confronting, with blood supply and beds running out.

“It is obvious that we were not prepared for this surge in dengue cases,” Poe lamented.

“Knowledge remains our only weapons against dengue, so we should go all-out in our information campaign. More alerts should be put out there—on TV, radio, newspapers and social media to warn about dengue,” she said.

Poe said the government should get more people involved in prevention measures and launch “information campaigns that will stick.”

“There was a margin of success achieved in the campaign against firecrackers that used to be a major headache for our country. A more robust and encompassing information and scare campaign on various media platforms did the job for us, something that crackdown on firecracker sale by our law enforcers was not able to achieve in the past,” Poe said.

Dengue is transmitted by the bite of a mosquito infected with one of the four dengue virus serotypes, all of which are present in the reported cases in the Philippines. While it can be addressed by getting sufficient rest and drinking lots of water, severe dengue or dengue hemorrhagic fever is potentially lethal as it is characterized by persistent vomiting, bleeding and breathing difficulty. #