DOH: Cholera cases reach epidemic level in Bicol with 3,158 cases in 2012
By Marlon A. Loterte
LEGAZPI CITY, July 14 (PIA) -- Cholera cases in Bicol have reached an epidemic level with 30 deaths and 3,158 people affected in first half of the year, an official of the Department of Health said Friday.
Dr. Nestor Santiago, in an emailed report, said there were only 445 cases recorded from January to July last year.
In 2011, there were only four reported deaths due to cholera, the DOH Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit said. Santiago said the data were gathered from various government and private hospitals in Bicol’s six provinces.
The DOH-RESU said cholera incidence this year was reported high in the province of Catanduanes with 1,831 cases and 14 deaths.
It was followed by Camarines Sur with 811 cases and seven deaths, Sorsogon with 291 cases and five deaths, Albay recorded 168 cases and four deaths, Camarines Norte had 54 cases and Masbate with three.
Wikipedia said Cholera is an infection in the small intestine caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. The main symptoms are profuse, watery diarrhea and vomiting. Transmission occurs primarily by drinking water or eating food that has been contaminated by the feces of an infected person, including one with no apparent symptoms.
The report indicated that except for Camarines Norte that posted a 36 percent decrease on incidence from 84 cases last year to 54 this year, all other five provinces had an increasing trend.
The DOH, getting alarmed by the surging incidence of cholera, prompted health authorities to declare the disease as an epidemic.
In connection with the rising health concern, Santiago issued an advisory last July 2 urging provincial, city and town executives to take necessary health interventions to avert the rising incidence of the disease.
Local government units in affected areas were urged to step up the campaign on food and environmental sanitation by requiring food handlers and vendors to undergo rectal swabbing before they could be issued with health certificates.
DOH also asked the LGUs to make available chlorine stock solutions to ensure safe drinking water in the communities.
Santiago also reminded the local chief executives to activate and functionalize their respective Water Quality Monitoring Committees to regularly check on the water sources of their communities and hold preventive and control measures to avert the spread of cholera. (MAL/MSA-PIA V/ALbay)