Death toll in cholera outbreak rises to 9; contamination explained
COTABATO CITY, Philippines — Another resident of Alamada, North Cotabato died of dehydration arising from cholera Saturday, raising the death toll in the cholera outbreak to nine.
A team of experts from Department of Health (DOH) in Manila and local sanitary inspectors over the weekend visited the source of drinking water in Upper Dado and found that plastic pipes emanating from water reservoir were not properly prepared and safety was not a priority among local folks.
A leaking plastic pipe was repaired with the use of plastics as covers and seal, making it vulnerable to bacteria entering the water tubes.
They also noted that farm animals like carabaos, goats and cows were tied close to the water sources.
Dr. Rosario Bandala, the Alamada municipal health chief, has explained that vibrio cholerae, a bacteria that causes cholera, thrives in water contaminated with human and animal discharges.
If discharges reach sources of water, an outbreak is expected to occur.
Bandala said the latest fatality was a 50-year-old woman from the remote village of Upper Dado.
All the fatalities in the outbreak — five adults and four minors, aged four to eight years old—died in their homes and did not make it to the hospital.
According to Bandala, the health advisory urging villagers not to get drinking water from the local wells and springs remain in effect.
Dr. Eva Rabaya, the North Cotabato health chief, said health workers, including doctors, nurses and midwives have been educating the locals about cholera and how anyone could acquire it, its treatment and especially prevention.
The DOH’s hand washing techniques have been extensively taught among locals, especially parents.
Health officials have said the outbreak has been contained but massive water rationing in far-flung and hard-to-reach communities continues to prevent the disease.