ILOILO CITY (PIA) -- The Department of Health (DOH) in Western Visayas warned the public on the increasing cases of food and water-borne diseases (FWBDs) in the region.
In the recent coordination meeting of health partners and stakeholders on the management of Emerging and Re-Emerging Infectious Diseases (EREIDS), Airene Legarda, the FWBD and Soil-transmitted Helminthiasis (STH) program manager of DOH6, noted that FWBDs are caused by intake of contaminated food and water.
These diseases are characterized by diarrhea, nausea, vomiting with or without fever, abdominal pain, headache, and body malaise.
She also stressed that various factors may be present across the different stages of the food production pathway that may cause the contamination.
“That’s why we always emphasize, especially to our food handlers, to have a health certificate or card and have it regularly renewed which is a requirement for business establishments before having a sanitary permit, as mandated by the Code of Sanitation of the Philippines,” said Legarda, citing that this could even happen during food preparation at home.
In the region, she noted that this 2022, FWBDs cases significantly increased in comparison to those cases from 2021 down to 2017.
To note, Typhoid and Paratyphoid cases in Western Visayas skyrocketed to 920, as of October 29 this year, compared to seven in 2021, eight in 2020, 18 in 2019, four in 2018, and five in 2017. The same goes with Cholera cases with 182 this 2022 compared to zero cases in 2021, 2020, and 2019. For acute bloody diarrhea (ABD), 76 cases were recorded this year which is higher than two in 2021, three in 2020, 13 in 2019, and 68 in 2018, but lower than the 123 cases in 2017.
From January 1 to October 29 of this year, Iloilo City logged the highest number of cholera cases with 31, while for ABD, Negros Occidental province topped the region with 43 cases. Meanwhile, Typhoid cases are noted in the provinces of Capiz, Iloilo, and Negros Occidental.
Legarda also made clear that acute gastroenteritis (AGE) does not belong in the FWBDs.
“It (AGE) is a notifiable disease. But we have recorded clustering of cases, especially in Iloilo City, Negros Occidental, Bacolod City, and Antique,” she explained.
The DOH, according to Legarda, has already conducted a series of environmental surveillance in the areas with a clustering of cases. She noted that most of the areas they visited revealed that the water sources are situated near
canals and wastes which may be tributary to the contamination affecting the health of those living in the said communities.
In line with this, DOH 6 issued an advisory, Sept. 15, urging the public to practice boiling of drinking water and disinfection of household containers to ensure the cleanliness of the water they are about to consume or use for household activities like bathing, washing dishes, laundry, etc.
Aside from this, Legarda also advised the public to keep their surroundings clean, wash their hands after using the toilet and before eating, keep their nails clean and trimmed, and maintain proper personal hygiene. (JBG/FRG/PIA6)