TACLOBAN CITY – The Department of Health (DOH) has raised concerns over the persistent rise in cases of influenza-like illnesses (ILL) across Eastern Visayas, prompting a call for heightened precautions to mitigate further spread.

According to DOH data, the region witnessed a surge in ILL cases, with 968 reported cases in January alone, marking a 79% increase compared to the same period last year, which recorded 541 cases.

In a statement released on Tuesday (Feb.6), Jelyn Malibago, DOH regional information officer, underscored the urgency of preventive measures amidst the escalating numbers.
“As the prevalence of influenza-like illnesses continues to persist in our region, it is imperative to convey a vital message to the public,” she said.

Leyte province recorded the highest cases at 422 followed by Eastern Samar with 199 cases, Samar with 179 cases, Northern Samar with 95 cases, Southern Leyte with 72 cases, and one case in Biliran.

Symptoms of ILL include fever, cough, body aches, sore throat, and headaches, among others.

Malibago attributed the spike in cases to the ongoing rainy season, which often exacerbates respiratory illnesses.

“The surge of ILL cases in the region could be attributed to the rainy season being experienced,” she said.

In response to the situation, the DOH reiterated the importance of adopting preventive measures such as wearing facemasks, maintaining proper hand hygiene, adhering to cough etiquette, isolating oneself when exhibiting symptoms, and ensuring well-ventilated spaces.
Moreover, Malibago emphasized the critical role of vaccination in combating respiratory threats.

“We cannot underscore enough the pivotal role of vaccination in safeguarding against these respiratory threats,” she stressed.

“By emphasizing and prioritizing vaccination, we collectively contribute to building a resilient shield against the potential impact of these illnesses,” she added.

As the region grapples with the escalating ILL cases, health authorities continue to urge the public to remain vigilant and proactive in adhering to preventive measures to curb the spread of respiratory illnesses.