Life uncertain for typhoid fever victim
TWELVE-YEAR-OLD Catherine Horquia got used to the hard life early but looking after her 8-year-old brother Cesar ailing is proving to be her most trying experience.
“Maayo unta’g maka gawas na mi dire kay dugay na ko’ng absent sa trabaho (I want to leave this hospital because I’ve been away from work for quite sometime),” she said.
Work for her meant collecting the metal and plastic scraps found in Tuburan town, which she and her brother would sell to shops for their income.
Sharing a bed with Cesar, Catherine said her brother is so weak he can barely talk.
Cesar, one of 990 typhoid fever patients staying in the cramped hallway of the Tuburan District Hospital, had been suffering from diarrhea for more than a week.
Tuburan town is suffering from a typhoid fever outbreak since last Saturday.
“There’s no one else to watch over him but I,” Catherine said.
Her father, a trisikad driver, would visit them every afternoon to bring money or food.
She said her mother died since she was young and could not even recall her face.
She lives with Cesar and her father in their small hut in barangay Siete while her youngest brother was given up for adoption since they couldn’t afford to raise him.
Catherine said she already stopped going to school since she was 9 while Cesar stopped attending school since last year.
She said he would help her brother to the toilet and often scold him because he lacks the appetite to eat.
“I told him that he should listen to me because it’s only just the two of us now,” Catherine said in Cebuano.
She said the free food and medicines reduced their expenses, but she is worried on what they will eat after Cesar is discharged.
Catherine said they don’t have money because they haven’t sold garbage scrap while her father would often come home drunk.
Some of the patients in the ward would give them additional food or water.
The National Epidemiology Center (NEC) arrived in Tuburan town last Wednesday to investigate the source of the contamination and identify the type of bacteria that caused the outbreak.
NEC senior epidemiologist Dr. Rowena Capistrano said food and water-borne diseases, like typhoid fever, are prevalent during summer since the people are more mobile and there is more interaction.
“If they are very mobile, they would drink more and use more water,” Capistrano told Cebu Daily News.
With the hot weather, she said the people are more exposed to rivers and other bodies of water that makes them vulnerable to diseases through infected water.
Capistrano said the simplest solution is to chlorinate the water supply and boil drinking water.
“People should observe proper hygiene practices like washing hands regularly,” she added.
Symptoms of typhoid fever are continuous fever up to one week, headache, abdominal pain, diarrhea, skin rashes, jaundice and, in extreme cases, psychosis.
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