Zamboanga Sibugay was placed under a state of calamity Tuesday over dengue outbreak affecting all of its 16 municipalities. To date, there are 3,005 dengue cases recorded by the Integrated Provincial Health Office with at least 10 deaths. It is no longer a wonder some myths about dengue would find their way into social media through forwarded memes and articles.
As the province holds a simultaneous clean-up drive Friday, July 19, it is also necessary to debunk these myths surrounding dengue.
At the outset, the public should know that dengue, a mosquito-borne disease, is spread by a carrier mosquito called Aedes Egypti. This disease is common in tropical countries.
Low platelet count equals dengue
Most people believe low platelet count always indicate means that a person is infected with dengue. Although it is known to be one of the serious manifestations of dengue low platelet count could also be caused by other body conditions such as infections. Surgery and auto immune diseases are known also to cause low platelet count. So it is better to subject the patient to several tests before determining the real cause of the drop.
Mosquitoes are attracted to dark clothing, blood type
One of the myths many people believe is the mosquitoes are attracted to dark clothing or blood type. But it has been proven to be false by Joseph Conlon, an entomologist. Mosquitoes are not attracted to a particular color or blood type. In reality, what attracts mosquitoes are heat and carbon dioxide.
Wearing light-colored clothing cannot save one from being bitten by mosquitoes.
Juice of papaya leaf is a cure
A dengue patient must drink the juice of papaya leaf because it can help restore the platelet count. Wrong. This is a myth. The claim that drinking a papaya leaf juice could help increase platelet count is not backed by research.
Once infected is already okay
Another myth has it that a person is already immune to the disease if he or she has been infected once. But this is not true. There are four strains of the dengue virus. Being infected once does not automatically mean that a person could no longer contract the disease.
Mosquitoes are low flyers
One of the most forwarded memes in social media is the claim that mosquitoes cannot fly above the knees. So, applying coconut oil, claimed to be an anti-biotic, could help prevent being infected by dengue.
Both claims are false. For the record, mosquitoes could fly as high as 300 meters from the ground. And coconut oil is not known to be an anti-biotic.
Stop believing these myths. The better way to combat the disease is to practice deprive the carrier mosquitoes of their homes by cleaning the surroundings and get rid of any stagnant water around. Consult your municipal health professionals how to combat dengue instead of believing in the myths peddled around about dengue. (Antonio Manaytay)