Diarrhea outbreak probed PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 12 April 2016 14:34


In a follow-up to its preliminary report submitted earlier to the city mayor, the City Health Office (CHO) is working to pinpoint the cause of the recent spate of diarrhea cases in the city.

“We are still working on other mode of transmissions, if we are affected by the rotavirus then there could be possible airborne transmission of the virus,” City Health Officer Rodelin Agbulos told the press briefing yesterday.

“The probability could be, if it is a viral infection, a rotavirus that could be easily transmitted oral-fecal, meaning if you hold a contaminated doorknob or a toilet, then you happen to hold it to your body, even scratching your nose…it can easily contaminate from one person to another,” Dr. Agbulos added, noting that there are lesser cases of diarrhea outside the urbanized areas of the city.

Agbulos clarified that there was no declaration of a diarrhea epidemic in the city.

The city was placed only on an alert level due to the rise of diarrhea cases admitted in hospitals which peaked on April 4 with 89 cases. Recent statistics however have shown a gradual decrease in the past few days.

Despite the gradual decrease, the health officer has directed medical officers in the barangay to come up with a daily list of patients that have consulted for diarrhea on an outpatient basis to provide a clearer and more comprehensive data.

Agbulos further added that there is no cause of alarm and that to date, the Zamboanga City Water District (ZCWD) has reported no contamination in their water pipes and treatment plan.

Water samples from refilling stations were likewise tested, and while around 6 to 7 were initially have found to have traces of e.coli, Agbulos assured that appropriate measures such as temporary closure, preventive cleaning, and change of filters were immediately implemented, resulting in negative results after 24 hours.

While investigations and interventions are ongoing, Agbulos strongly advised residents to avoid street foods, and to drink water from safe sources. If in doubt, the CHO urges boiling water for 3 minutes or doing water chlorination.

Constant hand washing before eating and after using the toilet is also a key preventive measure to avoid diarrhea. Moreover, if diarrhea, especially in children, does not stop, Agbulos urges parents to immediately consult the nearest health center to facilitate early detection and management.

In the meantime, the barangay health units are equipped with ORESOL and zinc syrup to address diarrhea concerns, and City Mayor BengClimaco has tasked the CHO to prepare the BHUs to handle hydration via intravenous fluids, if necessary.

From March 28 to April 9, the CHO documented a total of 386 cases of diarrhea admitted to the hospitals. The greatest incidence of diarrhea has affected the 1-5 year-old age bracket, with approximately 136 cases.

The CHO has called an emergency meeting of concerned agencies and will continue to monitor the cases with the Department of Health.— Jasmine Mohammadsali