AGE exceeds alert thresholds — CHO PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 26 April 2016 11:51

By JASMINE MOHAMMADSALI

The cases of the acute gastroenteritis (AGE) caused by the norovirus admitted in hospitals have exceeded alert thresholds, the City Health Office reported Monday, April 24.

In his report to the local media, City Health Officer Dr. Rodelin Agbulos said that four hospitals – Zamboanga City Medical Center, Zamboanga Doctors Hospital, Mindanao Sanitarium, and Brent Hospital – have already exceeded its alert and outbreak thresholds for number of AGE cases admitted, prompting the City Health Office to request the local government for the formal announcement and declaration of an AGE outbreak in the City.

Two important bases for the recommendation for the declaration of outbreak were from the number of cases presented in the locality, and the fact that this is the first time norovirus cases have been documented in the City, Agbulos explained.

From March 18 to April 21, a total of 1,124 cases of AGE have been reported with majority of the cases affecting the vulnerable groups of the 1-5 year old bracket with 526 cases and the under 12 months bracket with 237 cases. The CHO has documented five mortalities – four of which are pediatric cases.

Relative to this, the City Health Office reiterated anew the need to maintain strict personal hygiene and exercise constant hand washing to prevent the spread of the norovirus.    Alcohols and alcogels should be used in tandem with hand washing. Soiled laundry and surfaces must immediately be washed and disinfected with 5-10% chlorine bleach solution, if possible.

“El deaton thrust is really to prevent and try to contain. That is why we are always advocating personal hygiene and si pwede no mas atende directly con ele persona quien tan LBM and vomiting kay easily transmitted le,” cautioned Agbulos.

The health officer warned that the spread of the norovirus and AGE it causes is now primarily transmitted through person-to-person contact. According to City Health Office report, the norovirus is highly contagious and spreads easily within the population. While diarrhea caused by the norovirus clears up within 2-3 days, it can be particularly more severe on vulnerable populations.

The infectious dose of the norovirus is 18 to 1,000 viral particles. A droplet of vomitus of an infected person has enough particles to infect at least 100,000 people.

Moreover, the norovirus can survive 12 hours on a surface, 12 days on contaminated fabric, and 61 days in well water.

While hospital admissions are gradually decreasing, Agbulos noted that outpatient (OPD) cases remain high. Relative to this, medical officers in barangays have been instructed to be ready to open and activate health centers as rehydration centers. The City likewise has a standing emergency fund to address medical emergencies, he added. — Jasmine Mohammadsali