Thursday, February 01, 2007

The Loon Bohol Diarrhea Outbreak- (That pesky restroom urge)

With the recent news about an outbreak of diarrhea in the small town of Loon, Bohol (The Freeman Newspaper, Cebu 02/01/2007 / Jasmin Uy below) should teach not only the residents but us a lesson or two to keep sanitation a constant in our homes; this alarm has led to the hospitalization of hundreds of residents and claimed a couple of lives.

This just holds true to the fact (though a bit hard to admit) that with the coming of age for the Philippines, still a lot of our citizens, especially those that are living in far off countrysides, STILL DON’T HAVE TOILETS!

I find it ironic that as the country is slowly emerging in the business world and that the government sat busily promoting I.T. and exports, then news such as this comes along.

Man it’s 2007 and problems such these should have been long gone. I leave credits to the government because I find their information drive to be adequate but the real problem is in the people; because from what I’ve seen, even patches of small forests, beaches, and dark areas are not safe for would be- portable toilet seekers!

Just took a walk at a local beach once, I felt relaxed seeing the serene view and the calmness of the water, then all of a sudden Splat! I stepped upon a land mine (poop, I mean). There you have it; perhaps we should educate ourselves the right manners straight to our brains, because if we don’t then unhealthy events such as this pesky restroom urge will always leave us dry, once in a while.

DOH: Bacteria caused Loon diarrhea outbreak

The Freeman 02/01/2007

The presence of bacteria in the drinking water triggered the diarrhea outbreak that killed four people and hospitalized more than 400 others in Loon, Bohol, according to the Department of Health. DOH regional director Susana Madarietta said shigella flexneri, amoeba and e-coli are the kinds of bacteria that contaminated the drinking water of residents in Loon brought about by their unsanitary practices.

DOH confirmed the presence of bacteria in 12 out of the 14 rectal swabs from the diarrhea patients in the place. Test results showed that amoeba, e-coli and shigella flexneri bacteria have caused bacillary dysentery or diarrhea among the patients. Compared to amoeba, shigella flexneri spreads very easily.

The presence of the bacteria means that the water source of Loon has been contaminated. "The presence of shigella flexneri means water contamination from human feces," Madarietta said.

Loon Mayor Cesar Lopez, a doctor, said the bacteria came mostly from fecal oral root, which means that "it came from water and that it spreads through person-to-person contact." However, DOH is still awaiting the results of the water analysis from at least three water sources of Loon and two refilling stations. The water analysis is being conducted at the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center.

Even if DOH officials have already pinpointed the bacteria, they will still need the results of the water analysis for comparison. Madarietta said they have already put in place a command outpost in Loon that will provide medicine, fluids and needles to the residents, adding that they are visiting every household to educate them on proper sanitation and distribute packs chlorine.

Aside from boiling the water, DOH also recommended proper hygiene such as constant hand washing as well as proper waste disposal. Lopez said the public can already get water from their water source but for safety measures, each household should also practice self-chlorination.

He said one of the major problems in the town is that some houses, especially those in the mountain barangays, do not have toilets. Because of this, residents are used to disposing of their human wastes outside their homes. The incessant rains last December until the early part of January could have caused the fecal matter to seep into the water sources.

Lopez said with this development, the local government should implement the Sanitation Code of the Philippines, explaining that under the law, each household should have its own sanitary toilet. He said since Dec. 25, there have been 408 victims of the diarrhea outbreak with two fatalities - a three-year-old girl and a 57-year-old woman. But he added that the 58-year-old woman reported as the latest fatality died of infection in the upper respiratory system.

At least 369 patients were admitted to different hospitals in Bohol. As of yesterday, some 80 patients remain at the Natalio Castillo Memorial Hospital. - Jasmin R. Uy


No comments: