DOH: Acute respiratory infection is top illness among Taal eruption victims
MANILA, Philippines — Taal Volcano’s ashfall has caused most of those affected in Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) to experience acute respiratory infection or difficulty in breathing, the Department of Health (DOH) said Friday.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the majority of those who sought consultation to DOH’s teams were found to have acute respiratory infection.
“As of yesterday, we have 671 cases for consultations. These are the consultations done in the different evacuation centers in Calabarzon and there are five common illnesses encountered,” Duque said in an ambush interview.
“Number one would be the acute respiratory infection. Well, obvious naman because of the ashfall. 75 percent yan,” he added.
Duque said evacuees also experienced hypertension caused by the “uncertainty” of their situation after Taal’s heightened activity displaced them from their homes and affected their livelihood.
“Next would be hypertension. Syempre people are agitated, they are stressed out. They don’t have their homes. They are not in their usual, so they’re agitated and stressed, tensed. And they don’t know what’s going to happen next. There’s so much uncertainty,” he said.
The Health chief also expressed concern over the cases of diarrhea which calls for the improvement of sanitation.
“And then next would be of course would be diarrhea and this is a problem that we really need to watch out for. I have instructed our DOH Region 4A and the neighboring regions to complement the efforts to reach out to more of our people, to ensure sanitation is really worked on. Because of lack of sanitation, outbreaks can readily happen,” Duque said.
Skin diseases and influenza were also observed in those who are temporarily taking shelter in evacuation centers, Duque said.
Taal Volcano had a phreatic eruption or a steam-driven episode in its main crater last Sunday, which caused ashfall to reach nearby provinces and even until Metro Manila.
Meanwhile, alert level 4 remains hoisted over Taal, which means that a hazardous explosive eruption is possible within hours or days.
Edited by MUF
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.