CHO traces cause of diarrhea cases PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 20 April 2016 15:05


Laboratory test results from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) revealed Tuesday that the diarrhea outbreak in the city last week was caused by a viral infection called norovirus.

City Health Officer Dr. Rodel Agbulos said norovirus is a highly contagious virus and can be obtained from an infected person, contaminated food or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces. The virus causes stomach or intestines or both to get inflamed (acute gastroenteritis) and leads one to experience stomach pain, nausea and diarrhea and to throw up.

The best way to help prevent norovirus is to practice proper hand washing and general cleanliness, according to Agbulos.

Based on records from the City Health there were 707 cases admiutted in different hospitals in the city due to Acute Gastroenteritis (AGE) from March 28 to April 16, 2016. An increase in the admission of AGE cases was noted starting April 4.

Diarrhea cases have already gone down, the past days.

Agbulos said more than half of the cases were from the pediatric group particularly under 5 years old but all age groups were affected. Three (3) fatalities (pedia cases), were reported but all of which had co-morbidities such as pneumonia and malnutrition.

As initial measures, the CHO in coordination with other agencies also conducted laboratory examinations to include rectal swab and water samples. The rectal swab yielded for bacteria but bacteriological examination of water revealed positive for coliform, meaning the water is unsafe for drinking. Temporary closure of concerned water refilling stations was ordered by the CHO pending results of the succeeding tests which yielded negative for bacteria.

The surge in AGE cases during the March 28-April 16 period showed that the number of admissions particularly at the Zamboanga City Medical Center, a regional medical center, was 66% above the epidemic threshold, meaning the cases are higher compared to the previous years.

Majority of the cases came from Sta. Catalina, Tumaga, Upper Calarian, Mampang, San Roque, Sta. Barbara, Tetuan, Talon-talon and Tugbungan. There are also sporadic cases of various barangays in the city particularly within the 7-km radius from the city proper.

Meanwhile, the CHO in coordination with the Department of Health and the private hospitals in the city initiated measures to prevent the surge in AGE cases. The agency is continuously undertaking preventive measures through the conduct of 5-year review of AGE admitted cases, mobilize environmental program to coordinate with local health centers in providing stable, safe water source; enhance health advocacy on water boiling with hygiene and sanitation; improve sanitary and hygienic practices; coordinate with the DOH-RESU for technical assistance; advise residents to boil water for drinking for 10-15 minutes and continue to monitor cases.   — Sheila Covarrubias