DOH: Flu-like cases spiking in N. Mindanao

DOH: Flu-like cases spiking in N. Mindanao

02:06 AM September 29, 2023

DOH: Flu-like cases spiking in N. Mindanao

ALERT UP Candle vendors await churchgoers at Saint Augustine Cathedral in downtown Cagayan de Oro City where people usually flock during late afternoons. Local officials have asked residents to observe health protocols imposed during the height of COVID-19 infections to prevent the spread of flu-like cases in the city. —BOBBY E. LAGSA

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—Health authorities in Northern Mindanao have noted a huge spike in flu-like infections throughout the region in the last eight months.

Records from the Department of Health (DOH) showed 18,364 influenza-like illnesses reported in the region from January to August, up by 41 percent from only 12,996 cases within the same period last year.


The DOH counted those who had sustained a fever, with body temperature of at least 38 degrees Celsius, within 10 days from onset of sickness and cough.


The bulk of the cases were from Bukidnon province, with 8,002 or 43 percent of the regional total. The current level of infection in Bukidnon is 75 percent more than the previous year’s level, which is 4,578.

About 51 percent or 4,105 cases in Bukidnon were concentrated in the sugarcane-producing areas of Maramag town (2,428) and Valencia City (1,677). Other areas with a large number of cases are the banana-growing towns of Baungon (657), Pangantucan (569) and Manolo Fortich (545).

The province of Misamis Oriental came in second in the most number of flu-like cases, at 3,000, followed closely by the highly urbanized city of Iligan at 2,691 and Misamis Occidental province at 2,621. About 53 percent of the cases in Misamis Oriental were recorded in the towns of Opol (1,069) and Jasaan (511).

Masking, distancing

In the regional capital of Cagayan de Oro City, flu-like ailments reached 602 within the period or an average of only two cases per day. However, there has been a recent spike in these numbers among schools in the city, spawning a shift to online classes in at least four schools this week to lessen physical interactions and prevent the further spread of infections.

On Wednesday, Mayor Rolando Uy ordered the strict observance of minimum health protocols put up by health authorities against the spread of COVID-19, mainly, wearing of face masks and physical distancing while in public places and on mass transportation facilities.

Also on Wednesday, in-person classes at Manticao Elementary School in Manticao town, Misamis Oriental, were suspended until Friday.


“Over the past few days, we have observed an increasing number of students as well as some teachers who have fallen ill with symptoms such as fever, cold, cough and related respiratory issues. In the interest of the health and well-being of our students, staff and the entire school community, I have decided to take proactive measures to prevent the spread of illness within our school,” read a memo issued by school principal Lucia Sabayanan.

She also ordered the teachers to disinfect their classrooms, “paying attention to commonly touched surfaces and areas.”

Not Nipah

Health authorities were quick to allay fears that the recent spate of flu-like infections were caused by the Nipah virus.

Dr. Stephanie Grace Zamora, medical officer of the DOH Regional Epidemiology Surveillance and Disaster Response Unit, said that since the Nipah virus is zoonotic, there should be infection first from cows, horses and pigs before it is transmitted to humans.

“So far, there are no reported deaths [involving] livestock related to the Nipah virus,” she said, referring to the virus carried by bats that can spread the disease to other animals, like pigs, and humans.

What had caused a stir in all these measures was a notice from Liceo de Cagayan, which mentioned “avoid(ing) contamination by the new Nipah virus.”

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Dr. Ellenietta Gamolo, officer in charge of the DOH in Northern Mindanao, earlier said there were no cases of Nipah virus in the Philippines, “as there are no laboratory confirmed cases of the infection.” “While there are indeed cases of students and faculty [in Cagayan de Oro City] experiencing similar signs and symptoms, it is not conclusive to declare such a virus as the causative agent,” Gamolo said.

TAGS: DoH, flu, Mindanao

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