Outbreak of gastro in Zambo
ZAMBOANGA CITY—The city government has declared an outbreak of gastroenteritis after six persons, five of them children, died after contracting the disease and hundreds of others were taken ill since March.
Dr. Rodelin Agbulos, city health officer, said the number of acute gastroenteritis (AGE) cases in the city has already reached “epidemic proportion.”
Agbulos said poor hygiene and contaminated water could be the main carriers of the virus that causes AGE which has spread in several villages—Sta. Catalina, Tetuan, Upper Calarian, Mampang, Tumaga, San Roque, Talon-Talon, Sta. Maria, Guiwan and Tugbungan.
The city has been experiencing water shortage because of the dry spell as water sources had dried up.
Residents also had to cut their water use for such daily undertakings as taking a bath because of lack of water.
Data from private and public hospitals in the city show that “acute gastroenteritis cases are over the epidemic threshold.”
The number of cases peaked on April 4, when it went past 90, said Agbulos.
“We usually attribute it to hygiene and water,” he said. He added that AGE is commonly referred to as diarrhea or loose bowel movement.
Dr. Ivy Rozeth Iturralde, of the city epidemiology and surveillance unit, said from March to April, a total of 1,124 AGE cases had been recorded and six of the patients had died.
Also, out of the total number of AGE cases, 526 involved children aged one to five and 237 were cases involving infants.
At the Zamboanga City Reformatory Center alone, 390 cases of diarrhea had been recorded during the same period.
A 50-year old inmate was the sixth patient to have died of the disease in the city.
“We have recorded a total of 390 cases of diarrhea and one died,” said jail officer Julius Arro.
Agbulos said while majority of the cases is blamed on viruses, only about a dozen can be attributed to the so-called norovirus, the common cause of diarrhea.
The other types of viruses that causes diarrhea, he said, are rotavirus, which is blamed for most cases of diarrhea among children under five; and adenovirus, which also causes respiratory diseases, bladder infection and skin rashes. Julie S. Alipala, Inquirer Mindanao
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