The Department of Health (DOH) in collaboration with the Local Government of Zamboanga City intensifies its surveillance and health promotion activities on sanitation and water safety after a diarrhea outbreak was reported in the city due to rotavirus, norovirus, and adenovirus.
Last March, 2016, increasing cases of acute gastroenteritis (AGE) were reported from different hospitals in Zamboanga City. As of May 25, 2016 a total of 2,936 cases were admitted in eleven hospitals within Zamboanga City. Cases started to appear on March 28, 2016 and peaked on April 3-5, 2016. There were 22 deaths reported. The said deaths are due to other associated illnesses acquired by the patient like pneumonia, dehydration, malnutrition and myocardial infarction (heart attack)
In addition, cases of AGE were also reported in Isabela City, Basilan and Zamboanga City and Sulu. As of May 20, 2016, a total of 201 cases were seen in four hospitals of Isabela City, Basilan, and Zamboanga City while 1,706 AGE cases were reported in Sulu. Cases in Isabela City, Basilan and Zamboanga City appeared on March 29, 2016 and peaked on April 24, 2016. There were no deaths reported within Isabela City, Basilan, and Zamboanga City while 23 deaths due to other associated illnesses were reported in Sulu. Further verification on barangays with highest attack rates is ongoing.
"Currently, DOH is closely coordinating with the City of Zamboanga to address the diarrhea outbreak. All water sources found positive for fecal coliforms and Escherichia coli were chlorinated and disinfected so it will be safe for human consumption. This also includes distribution of jerry cans to affected areas and information dissemination to the public on the importance of proper hygiene." Health Secretary Janette P. Loreto-Garin explained.
The health chief added that an inter-agency task force called "Task Force for Safe Water" was formed and spearheaded by the Local Government Unit of Zamboanga together with DOH. A public assembly in each barangay of Zamboanga City are conducted by health workers and local officers to disseminate information on proper hygiene and diarrhea. As classes begin this June, basic training on proper hand washing and self-hygiene will be emphasized in the lessons.
"Good hygiene such as hand washing and cleanliness are important to control the spread of disease. Ugaliing maghugas ng kamay bago at pagkatapos kumain. Panatilihing malinis ang ating kapaligiran. Tandaan na ang susi para ang sakit ay maiwasan ay kalinisan". Garin concluded.