CHO heightens info drive on norovirus PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 29 April 2016 11:45

By SHEILA COVARRUBIAS

The City Health Office (CHO) has reinforced its information campaign to effectively prevent and control the spread of the viral infection, norovirus, which caused most of the diarrhea or acute gastroenteritis (AGE) cases in the city.

The office has been saturating the different communities with varied information, education and communication (IEC) materials through health centers and places of convergence in the different barangays.

Mayor Beng Climaco has declared gastroenteritis outbreak in Zamboanga, as cases have exceeded alert levels with majority of those affected coming from the vulnerable groups. Five people, four of which are children, expired due to the diarrhea but their cases were aggravated by co-morbidities such as pneumonia and malnutrition.

Through the declaration, the CHO and other concerned offices and agencies and all health institutions in the city have been directed to institute, undertake and implement curative and proactive measures to effectively address and eradicate the outbreak.

CHO Epidemiology Division Chief Dr. Ivy Iturralde said the aggressive campaign is focused on the practice of hand washing and proper hygiene which are considered most effective measures in preventing and controlling the spread of the virus.

From March 18 to April 28, 2016, diarrhea cases have already reached 1,207.

Iturralde said personnel from the Epidemiology Bureau of the Department of Health-Manila are in the city to trace index cases of norovirus. An additional 100 samples of rectal swabs were sent to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) for further studies.

Water samples were likewise sent to RITM for viral testing, as the city is only capable of bacteriological testing.

In the first set of rectal swab samples sent, 14 out of the 17 were positive of norovirus.

Meanwhile, CHO sanitary officers conduct weekly water analysis in the different refilling stations in the city. Results lately revealed negative traces of coliform bacteria, according to Dr. Iturralde.   — Sheila Covarrubias