Diarrhea, AGE spread to Zambo neighboring places PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 27 May 2016 11:39

By DOMINIC I. SANCHEZ

 

A total of 22 people, mostly children, have died of diarrhea and acute gastroenteritis (AGE) in the city as the Department of Health (DOH) has recorded 2,936 cases since April.

The number continues to rise and appears to be spreading to other towns, and DOH is urging residents to ensure that their drinking water is safe, and to practice proper hygiene and sanitation.

“This is already alarming,” Dr. Joshua Brillantes, DOH assistant regional director, told the media Wednesday.

The city government had declared in April an outbreak due to the rising cases.

“In Jolo town, 23 deaths have now been recorded as well,” said Dr. Brillantes. Similar cases have also been noted in Basilan province, and some in as far as Alicia, Zamboanga Sibugay.    According to Dr. Ivy Iturralde of the City Health Office’s (CHO) Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit, majority of the cases involved children and infants, but adults are not exempted.

“The deaths are not directly caused by diarrhea,” Dr. Brillantes explained, but because of the presence of other previously undetected and untreated diseases such as pneumonia and other complications which multiplied its effect on the patients.

The DOH attributes the main cause of the disease as drinking unsafe water, but added that unsanitary practices and poor health and nutrition are also contributory.

As far as the health department is concerned, drinking water, whether it comes from the wells, faucets or even water refilling stations are to be strictly boiled to ensure that it is “safer” for drinking.

“There is even the possibility for bottled water to be contaminated especially if it is not properly handled and stored at home,” Dr. Brillantes said.

The CHO has been collecting samples from different water sources, including water refilling stations, and have discovered that there are traces of contamination. Dr. Iturralde said that closure orders were served immediately to the concerned water stations.

The DOH is mum on disclosing the identities of the water stations that have been tested positive of virus contamination.

“It depends on the City Health Office if they want to release the names (of the stations),” he added.

Dr. Brillantes, meanwhile expects cases of diarrhea to rise in the looming rainy season.

“We need to ensure that our water is safe for drinking,” he said. The DOH is urging residents to practice good hygiene and sanitation such as washing hands thoroughly with soap regularly. (ALT/DIS/PIA9-Zamboanga City)